Skip to main content

Full text of "The golden fleece and the heroes who lived before Achilles"

See other formats







6)here the \ I/ 
Sun 901$ I } 


J 398.21 C 
Colum, Padraic 
The golden fleece 
and the heroes who 



T - 


3 3333 11384 2625 

s s 



mere the Sin 
o ar 


COhere the Sun\^^/ 














Copyright, 1921, by 

All rights reserved no part of this book may be 
reproduced in any form without permission in writing 
from the publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes 
to quote brief passages in connection with a review 
written for inclusion in magazine or newspaper. 

Set up and electrotyped. 

Published December, 1921. 

Reissued October, 1934. 

Reprinted April, 1936. 

Reprinted May, 1938. 

, ' . . . . 

1 ' 



' <- 


.-I I .(. 

< <f < 

Printed in the United States of America 











1. The Youth Jason 3 

2. King Pelias n 

3. The Golden Fleece 13 

4. The Assembling of the Heroes and the Building of 

the Ship 18 

5. The Argo 24 

The Beginning of Things 33 

6. Polydeuces' Victory and Heracles' Loss 38 

7. King Phineus 45 

8. King Phineus 's Counsel; the Landing in Lemnos . 52 

9. The Lemnian Maidens 58 

Demeter and Persephone 61 

Atalanta's Race . . 73 



PART I. Continued. 

10. The Departure from Lemnos 81 

The Golden Maid 83 

11. The Passage of the Symplegades 94 

12. The Mountain Caucasus 97 

Prometheus 99 


1. King ^Setes 109 

2. Medea the Sorceress 118 

3. The Winning of the Golden Fleece 127 

4. The Slaying of Apsyrtus 134 

5. Medea Comes to Circe 139 

6. In the Land of the Phsacians 142 

7. They Come to the Desert Land 148 

8. The Carrying of the A rgo 152 

The Story of Perseus 156 

9. Near to lolcus Again 176 


1. Atalanta the Huntress 183 

2. Peleus and His Bride from the Sea 192 

3. Theseus and the Minotaur 201 

4. The Life and Labors of Heracles 223 

The Battle of the Frogs and Mice 247 

5. Admetus 258 

6. How Orpheus the Minstrel Went Down to the 

World of the Dead 268 

7. Jason and Medea 273 


Jason and Medea 

The Argo 
Hylas . 



. . 24 


Persephone and Aidoneus 64 

Atalanta's Last Race 80 

Prometheus 102 

The Field of the Dragon's Teeth 128 

Perseus and Andromeda ... 168 




MAN in the garb of a slave went up the 
side of that mountain that is all covered 
with forest, the Mountain Pelion. He 
carried in his arms a little child. 

When it was full noon the slave came 
into a clearing of the forest so silent that 
it seemed empty of all life. He laid the 
child down on the soft moss, and then, trembling with the fear 
of what might come before him, he raised a horn to his lips and 
blew three blasts upon it. 

Then he waited. The blue sky was above him, the great trees 
stood away from him, and the little child lay at his feet. He 
waited, and then he heard the thud- thud of great hooves. And 
then from between the trees he saw coming toward him the 
strangest of all beings, one who was half man and half horse; 
this was Chiron the centaur. 

Chiron came toward the trembling slave. Greater than any 
horse was Chiron, taller than any man. The hair of his head 
flowed back into his horse's mane, his great beard flowed over 
his horse's chest; in his man's hand he held a great spear. 



Not swiftly he came, but the slave could see that in those 
great limbs of his there was speed like to the wind's. The slave 
fell upon his knees. And with eyes that were full of majesty 
and wisdom and limbs that were full of strength and speed, the 
king-centaur stood above him. "O my lord/' the slave said, 
"I have come before thee sent by ^Eson, my master, who told 
me where to come and what blasts to blow upon the horn. And 
JEson, once King of lolcus, bade me say to thee that if thou 
dost remember his ancient friendship with thee thou wilt, per- 
chance, take this child and guard and foster him, and, as he 
grows, instruct him with thy wisdom." 

"For ^Eson's sake I will rear and foster this child," said 
Chiron the king-centaur in a deep voice. 

The child lying on the moss had been looking up at the four- 
footed and two-handed centaur. Now the slave lifted him up 
and placed him in the centaur's arms. He said: 

"^Eson bade me tell thee that the child's name is Jason. He 
bade me give thee this ring with the great ruby in it that thou 
mayst give it to the child when he is grown. By this ring with 
its ruby and the images engraved on it ^Eson may know his son 
when they meet after many years and many changes. And an- 
other thing JEson. bade me say to thee, my lord Chiron: not 
presumptuous is he, but he knows that this child has the regard 
of the immortal Goddess Hera, the wife of Zeus." 

Chiron held ^Eson's son in his arms, and the little child put 
hands into his great beard. Then the centaur said, "Let JEson. 


know that his son will be reared and fostered by me, and that, 
when they meet again, there will be ways by which they will be 
known to each other." 

Saying this Chiron the centaur, holding the child in his arms, 
went swift'y toward the forest arches; then the slave took up 
the horn and went down the side of the Mountain Pelion. 
He came to where a horse was hidden, and he mounted and 
rode, first to a city, and then to a village that was beyond the 

All this was before the famous walls of Troy were built; be- 
fore King Priam had come to the throne of his father and while 
he was still known, not as Priam, but as Podarces. And the 
beginning of all these happenings was in lolcus, a city in 

Cretheus founded the city and had ruled over it in days be- 
fore King Priam was born. He left two sons, ^Eson and Pelias. 
^Eson succeeded his father. And because he was a mild and 
gentle man the men of war did not love ^Eson; they wanted a 
hard king who would lead them to conquests. 

Pelias, the brother of ^Eson, was ever with the men of war; 
he knew what mind they had toward ^Eson and he plotted 
with them to overthrow his brother. This they did, and they 
brought Pelias to reign as king in lolcus. 

The people loved ^Eson and they feared Pelias. And because 
the people loved him and would be maddened by his slaying, 


Pelias and the men of war left him living. With his wife, Al- 
cimide, and his infant son, ^Eson went from the city, and in a 
village that was at a distance from lolcus he found a hidden 
house and went to dwell in it. 

^Eson would have lived content there were it not that he wai 
fearful for Jason, his infant son. Jason, he knew, would grow 
into a strong and a bold youth, and Pelias, the king, would be 
made uneasy on his account. Pelias would slay the son, and 
perhaps would slay the father for the son's sake when his mem- 
ory would come to be less loved by the people. ^Eson thought 
of such things in his hidden house, and he pondered on ways to 
have his son reared away from lolcus and the dread and the 
power of King Pelias. 

He had for a friend one who was the wisest of all creatures 
Chiron the centaur; Chiron who was half man and half horse; 
Chiron who had lived and was yet to live measureless years. 
Chiron had fostered Heracles, and it might be that he would 
not refuse to foster Jason, ^Eson's child. 

Away in the fastnesses of Mount Pelion Chiron dwelt; once 
jEson had been with him and had seen the centaur hunt with 
his great bow and his great spears. And JEson knew a way 
that one might come to him; Chiron himself had told him of the 

Now there was a slave in his house who had been a hunts- 
man and who knew all the ways of the Mountain Pelion. ^Eson 
talked with this slave one day, and after he had talked with 


him he sat for a long time over the cradle of his sleeping infant. 
And then he spoke to Alcimide, his wife, telling her of a part- 
ing that made her weep. That evening the slave came in and 
^Eson took the child from the arms of the mournful-eyed 
mother and put him in the slave's arms. Also he gave him a 
horn and a ring with a great ruby in it and mystic images en- 
graved on its gold. Then when the ways were dark the slave 
mounted a horse, and, with the child in his arms, rode through 
the city that King Pelias ruled over. In the morning he came 
to that mountain that is all covered with forest, the Mountain 
Pelion. And that evening he came back to the village and 
to ^Eson's hidden house, and he told his master how he had 

^Eson was content thereafter although he was lonely and al- 
though his wife was lonely in their childlessness. But the time 
came when they rejoiced that their child had been sent into an 
unreachable place. For messengers from King Pelias came in- 
quiring about the boy. They told the king's messengers that 
the child had strayed off from his nurse, and that whether he 
had been slain by a wild beast or had been drowned in the swift 
River Anaurus they did not know. 

The years went by and Pelias felt secure upon the throne he 
had taken from his brother. Once he sent to the oracle of the 
gods to ask of it whether he should be fearful of anything. 
What the oracle answered was this: that King Pelias had but 
one thing to dread the coming of a half -shod man. 


The centaur nourished the child Jason on roots and fruits 
and honey; for shelter they had a great cave that Chiron had 
lived in for numberless years. When he had grown big enough 
to leave the cave Chiron would let Jason mount on his back; 
with the child holding on to his great mane he would trot gently 
through the ways of the forest. 

Jason began to know the creatures of the forest and their 
haunts. Sometimes Chiron would bring his great bow with him; 
then Jason, on his back, would hold the quiver and would hand 
him the arrows. The centaur would let the boy see him kill 
with a single arrow the bear, the boar, or the deer. And soon 
Jason, running beside him, hunted too. 

No heroes were ever better trained than those whose child- 
hood and youth had been spent with Chiron the king-centaur. 
He made them more swift of foot than any other of the chil- 
dren of men. He made them stronger and more ready with the 
spear and bow. Jason was trained by Chiron as Heracles just 
before him had been trained, and as Achilles was to be trained 

Moreover, Chiron taught him the knowledge of the stars and 
the wisdom that had to do with the ways of the gods. 

Once, when they were hunting together, Jason saw a form at 
the end of an alley of trees - - the form of a woman it was of 
a woman who had on her head a shining crown. Never had 
Jason dreamt of seeing a form so wondrous. Not very near did 
he come, but he thought he knew that the woman smiled upon 


him. She was seen no more, and Jason knew that he had looked 
upon one of the immortal goddesses. 

All day Jason was filled with thought of her whom he had seen. 
At night, when the stars were out, and when they were, seated out- 
side the cave, Chiron and Jason talked together, and Chiron told 
the youth that she whom he had seen was none other than Hera, 
the wife of Zeus, who had for his father ^Eson and for himself 
an especial friendliness. 

So Jason grew up upon the mountain and in the forest fast- 
nesses. When he had reached his full height and had shown him- 
self swift in the hunt and strong with the spear and bow, Chiron 
told him that the time had come when he should go back to the 
world of men and make his name famous by the doing of great 

And when Chirori told him about his father ^Eson about 
how he had been thrust out of the kingship by Pelias, his uncle 
a great longing came upon Jason to see his father and a fierce 
anger grew up in his heart against Pelias. 

Then the time came when he bade good-by to Chiron his 
great instructor; the time came when he went from the centaur's 
cave for the last time, and went through the wooded ways and 
down the side of the Mountain Pelion. He came to the river, 
to the swift Anaurus, and he found it high in flood. The stones 
by which one might cross were almost all washed over; far apart 
did they seem in the flood. 

Now as he stood there pondering on what he might do there 


came up to him an old woman who had on her back a load of 
brushwood. "Wouldst thou cross?' asked the old woman. 
"Wouldst thou cross and get thee to the city of lolcus, Jason, 
where so many things await thee?' 

Greatly was the youth astonished to hear his name spoken by 
this old woman, and to hear her give the name of the city he was 
bound for. " Wouldst thou cross the Anaurus? " she asked again. 
"Then mount upon my back, holding on to the wood I carry, and 
I will bear thee over the river.' 

Jason smiled. How foolish this old woman was to think that 
she could bear him across the flooded river ! She came near him 
and she took him in her arms and lifted him up on her shoulders. 
Then, before he knew what she was about to do, she had stepped 
into the water. 

From stone to stepping-stone she went, Jason holding on to 
the wood that she had drawn to her shoulders. She left him 
down upon the bank. As she was lifting him down one of 
his feet touched the water; the swift current swept away a 

He stood on the bank knowing that she who had carried him 
across the flooded river had strength from the gods. He looked 
upon her, and behold! she was transformed. Instead of an old 
woman there stood before him one who had on a golden robe and 
a shining crown. Around her was a wondrous light the light 
of the sun when it is most golden. Then Jason knew that she 
who had carried him across the broad Anaurus was the goddess 


whom he had seen in the ways of the forest Hera, great Zeus's 

"Go into lolcus, Jason," said great Hera to him, a go into 
lolcus, and in whatever chance doth befall thee act as one who 
has the eyes of the immortals upon him. ' 

She spoke and she was seen no more. Then Jason went on his 
way to the city that Cretheus, his grandfather, had founded and 
that his father ^Eson had once ruled over. He came into that 
city, a tall, great-limbed, unknown youth, dressed in a strange 
fashion, and having but one sandal on. 


HAT day King Pelias, walking through 
the streets of his city, saw coming toward 
him a youth who was half shod. He re- 
membered the words of the oracle that 
bade him beware of a half-shod man, and 
straightway he gave orders to his guards to 
lay hands upon the youth. 
But the guards wavered when they went toward him, for there 
was something about the youth that put them in awe of him. 
He came with the guards, however, and he stood before the king's 
judgment seat. 

Fearfully did Pelias look upon him. But not fearfully did the 
youth look upon the king. With head lifted high he cried out, 


"Thou art Pelias, but I do not salute thee as king. Know that 
I am Jason, the son of ^Eson from whom thou hast taken the 
throne and scepter that were rightfully his.' 

King Pelias looked to his guards. He would have given them 
a sign to destroy the youth's life with their spears, but behind his 
guards he saw a threatening multitude - - the dwellers of the city 
of lolcus; they gathered around, and Pelias knew that he had 
become more and more hated by them. And from the multitude 
a cry went up, "^Eson, ^Eson! May ^Eson come back to us! 
Jason, son of ^Eson ! May nothing evil befall thee, brave youth ! ' : 

Then Pelias knew that the youth might not be slain. He bent 
his head while he plotted against him in his heart. Then he raised 
his eyes, and looking upon Jason he said, "O goodly youth, it well 
may be that thou art the son of ^Eson, my brother. I am well 
pleased to see thee here. I have had hopes that I might be 
friends with ^Eson, and thy coming here may be the means to the 
renewal of our friendship. We two brothers may come together 
again. I will send for thy father now, and he will be brought to 
meet thee in my royal palace. Go with my guards and with this 
rejoicing people, and in a little while thou and I and thy father 
^Eson will sit at a feast of friends.' 

So Pelias said, and Jason went with the guards and the crowd 
of people, and he came to the palace of the king and he was 
brought within. The maids led him to the bath and gave him 
new robes to wear. Dressed in these Jason looked a prince indeed. 

But all that while King Pelias remained on his judgment seat 


with his crowned head bent down. When he raised his head 
his dark brows were gathered together and his thin lips were 
very close. He looked to the swords and spears of his guards, 
and he made a sign to the men to stand close to him. Then he 
left the judgment seat and he went to the palace. 


[EY brought Jason into a hall where /Eson, 
his father, waited. Very strange did this 
old and grave-looking man appear to him. 
But when ^Eson spoke, Jason remembered 
the tone of his father's voice and he clasped 
him to him. And his father knew him 
even without the sight of the ruby ring 
which Jason had upon his finger. 

Then the young man began to tell of the centaur and of his life 
upon the Mountain Pelion. As they were speaking together 
Pelias came to where they stood, Pelias in the purple robe of a 
king and with the crown upon his head. ^Eson tightly clasped 
Jason as if he had become fearful for his son. Pelias smilingly 
took the hand of the young man and the hand of his brother, 
and he bade them both welcome to his palace. 

Then, walking between them, the king brought the two into 
the feasting hall. The youth who had known only the forest and 
the mountainside had to wonder at the beauty and the magnifi- 


cence of all he saw around him. On the walls were bright 
pictures; the tables were of polished wood, and they had vessels 
of gold and dishes of silver set upon them ; along the walls were 
vases of lovely shapes and colors, and everywhere there were 
baskets heaped with roses white and red. 

The king's guests were already in the hall, young men and 
elders, and maidens went amongst them carrying roses which they 
strung into wreaths for the guests to put upon their heads. A 
soft-handed maiden gave Jason a wreath of roses and he put it on 
his head as he sat down at the king's table. When he looked 
at all the rich and lovely things in that hall, and when he saw the 
guests looking at him with friendly eyes, Jason felt that he was 
indeed far away from the dim spaces of the mountain forest and 
from the darkness of the centaur's cave. 

Rich food and wine such as he had never dreamt of tasting 
were brought to the tables. He ate and drank, and his eyes fol- 
lowed the fair maidens who went through the hall. He thought 
how glorious it was to be a king. He heard Pelias speak to ^Eson r 
his father, telling him that he was old and that he was weary of 
ruling; that he longed to make friends, and that he would let no 
enmity now be between him and his brother. And he heard the 
king say that he, Jason, was young and courageous, and that he 
would call upon him to help to rule the land, and that, in a while, 
Jason would bear full sway over the kingdom that Cretheus had 

So Pelias spoke to ^Eson as they both sat together at the king's 


high table. But Jason, looking on them both, saw that the eyes 
that his father turned on him were full of warnings and mistrust. 

After they had eaten King Pelias made a sign, and a cup- 
bearer bringing a richly wrought cup came and stood before the 
king. The king stood up, holding the cup in his hands, and all 
in the hall waited silently. Then Pelias put the cup into Jason's 
hands and he cried out in a voice that was heard all through the 
hall, " Drink from this cup, O nephew Jason! Drink from this 
cup, O man who will soon come to rule over the kingdom that 
Cretheus founded!' 3 

All in the hall stood up and shouted with delight at that speech. 
But the king was not delighted with their delight, Jason saw. He 
took the cup and he drank the rich wine; pride grew in him; 
he looked down the hall and he saw faces all friendly to him; he 
felt as a king might feel, secure and triumphant. And then he 
heard King Pelias speaking once more. 

"This is my nephew Jason, reared and fostered in the centaur's 
cave. He will tell you of his life in the forest and the mountains 
his life that was like to the life of the half gods. ' : 

Then Jason spoke to them, telling them of his life on the 
Mountain Pelion. When he had spoken, Pelias said: 

"I was bidden by the oracle to beware of the man whom I 
should see coming toward me half shod. But, as you all see, I 
have brought the half -shod man to my palace and my feasting 
hall, so little do I dread the anger of the gods. 

" And I dread it little because I am blameless. This youth, the 


son of my brother, is strong and courageous, and I rejoice in 
his strength and courage, for I would have him take my place and 
reign over you. Ah, that I were as young as he is now ! Ah, that 
I had been reared and fostered as he was reared and fostered by 
the wise centaur and under the eyes of the immortals! Then 
would I do that which in my youth I often dreamed of doing! 
Then would I perform a deed that would make my name and the 
name of my city famous throughout all Greece! Then would I 
bring from far Colchis,, the famous Fleece of Gold that King 
^Eetes keeps guard over!" 

He finished speaking, and all in the hall shouted out, "The 
Golden Fleece, the Golden Fleece from Colchis!" Jason stood 
up, and his father's hand gripped him. But he did not heed the 
hold of his father's hand, for "The Golden Fleece, the Golden 
Fleece!" rang in his ears, and before his eyes were the faces of 
those who were all eager for the sight of the wonder that King 
^Eetes kept guard over. 

Then said Jason, "Thou hast spoken well, King Pelias! 
Know, and know all here assembled, that I have heard of the 
Golden Fleece and of the dangers that await on any one who 
should strive to win it from King ^Eetes's care. But know, too, 
that I would strive to win the Fleece and bring it to lolcus, win- 
ning fame both for myself and for the city.' 

When he had spoken he saw his father's stricken eyes; they 
were fixed upon him. But he looked from them to the shining 
eyes of the young men who were even then pressing around 


where he stood. " Jason, Jason!' 1 ' they shouted. "The Golden 
Fleece for lolcus!" 

"King Pelias knows that the winning of the Golden Fleece is 
a feat most difficult, " said Jason. "But if he will have built for 
me a ship that can make the voyage to far Colchis, and if he will 
send throughout all Greece the word of my adventuring so that 
all the heroes who would win fame might come with me, and if 
ye, young heroes of lolcus, will come with me, I will peril my life 
to win the wonder that King ^Eetes keeps guard over. ' 

He spoke and those in the hall shouted again and made clamor 
around him. But still his father sat gazing at him with stricken 

King Pelias stood up in the hall and holding up his scepter he 
said, "0 my nephew Jason, and friends assembled here, I 
promise that I will have built for the voyage the best 'ship that 
ever sailed from a harbor in Greece. And I promise that I will 
send throughout all Greece a word telling of Jason's voyage so 
that all heroes desirous of winning fame may come to help him 
and to help all of you who may go with him to win from the 
keeping of King ^Eetes the famous Fleece of Gold. r 

So King Pelias said, but Jason, looking to the king from his 
father's stricken eyes, saw that he had been led by the king into 
the acceptance of the voyage so that he might fare far from 
lolcus, and perhaps lose his life in striving to gain the wonder 
that Kong ^Eetes kept guarded. By the glitter in Pelias's eyes he 
.knew the truth. Nevertheless Jason would not take back one 



word that he had spoken; his heart was strong within him, and 
he thought that with the help of the bright-eyed youths around 
and with the help of those who would come to him at the word 
of the voyage, he would bring the Golden Fleece to lolcus and 
make famous for all time his own name. 


JRST there came the youths CASTOR and 
POLYDEUCES. They came riding on white 
horses, two noble-looking brothers. From 
Sparta they came, and their mother was 
Leda, who, after the twin brothers, had 
another child born to her Helen, for 
whose sake the sons of many of Jason's 
friends were to wage war against the great city of Troy. These 
were the first heroes who came to lolcus after the word had gone 
forth through Greece of Jason's adventuring in quest of the 
Golden Fleece. 

And then there came one who had both welcome and reverence 
from Jason; this one came without spear or bow, bearing in his 
hands a lyre only. He was ORPHEUS, and he knew all the ways 
of the gods and all the stories of the gods; when he sang to his 
lyre the trees would listen and the beasts would follow him. It 
was Chiron who had counseled Orpheus to go with Jason ; Chiron 


the centaur had met him as he was wandering through the forests 
on the Mountain Pelion and had sent him down into lolcus. 

Then there came two men well skilled in the handling of ships 
TIPHYS and NAUPLIUS. Tiphys knew all about the sun and 
winds and stars, and all about the signs by which a ship might 
be steered, and Nauplius had the love of Poseidon, the god of the 

Afterward there came, one after the other, two who were 
famous for their hunting. No two could be more different than 
these two were. The first was ARCAS. He was dressed in the 
skin of a bear; he had red hair and savage-looking eyes, and for 
arms he carried a mighty bow with bronze- tipped arrows. The 
folk were watching an eagle as he came into the city an eagle 
that was winging its way far, far up in the sky. Areas drew his 
bow, and with one arrow he brought the eagle down. 

The other hunter was a girl, ATALANTA. Tall and bright- 
haired was Atalanta, swift and good with the bow. She had 
dedicated herself to Artemis, the guardian of the wild things, and 
she had vowed that she would remain unwedded. All the heroes 
welcomed Atalanta as a comrade, and the maiden did all the 
things that the young men did. 

There came a hero who was less youthful than Castor or Poly- 
deuces ; he was a man good in council named NESTOR. Afterward 
Nestor went to the war against Troy, and then he was the oldest 
of the heroes in the camp of Agamemnon. 

Two brothers came who were to be special friends of Jason's 


PELEUS and TELAMON. Both were still youthful and neither had 
yet achieved any notable deed. Afterward they were to be 
famous, but their sons were to be even more famous, for the son 
of Telamon was strong Aias, and the son of Peleus was great 

Another who came was ADMETUS; afterward he became a 
famous king. The God Apollo once made himself a shepherd 
and he kept the flocks of King Admetus. 

And there came two brothers, twins, who were a wonder to 
all who beheld them. ZETES and CALAIS they were named; their 
mother was Oreithyia, the daughter of Erechtheus, King of 
Athens, and their father was Boreas, the North Wind. These 
two brothers had on their ankles wings that gleamed with golden 
scales; their black hair was thick upon their shoulders, and it was 
always being shaken by the wind. 

With Zetes and Calais there came a youth armed with a great 
sword whose name was THESEUS. Theseus 's father was an un- 
known king; he had bidden the mother show their son where his 
sword was hidden. Under a great stone the king had hidden it 
before Theseus was born. Before he had grown out of his boy- 
hood Theseus had been able to raise the stone and draw forth 
his father's sword. As yet he had done no great deed, but he 
was resolved to win fame and to find his unknown father. 

On the day that the messengers had set out to bring through 
Greece the word of Jason's going forth in quest of the Golden 


Fleece the woodcutters made their way up into the forests of 
Mount Pelion; they began to fell trees for the timbers of the ship 
that was to make the voyage to far Colchis. 

Great timbers were cut and brought down to Pagasae, the 
habor of lolcus. On the night of the day he had helped to bring 
them down Jason had a dream. He dreamt that She whom he 
had seen in the forest ways and afterward by the River Anaurus 
appeared to him. And in his dream the goddess bade him rise 
early in the morning and welcome a man whom he would meet 
at the city's gate - - a tall and gray-haired man who would have 
on his shoulders tools for the building of a ship. 

He went to the city's gate and he met such a man. ARGUS was 
his name. He told Jason that a dream had sent him to the city 
of lolcus. Jason welcomed him and lodged him in the king's 
palace, and that day the word went through the city that the 
building of the great ship would soon be begun. 

But not with the timbers brought from Mount Pelion did 
Argus begin. Walking through the palace with Jason he noted a 
great beam in the roof. That beam, he said, had been shown him 
in his dream; it was from an oak tree in Dodona, the grove of 
Zeus. A sacred power was in the beam, and from it the prow of 
the ship should be fashioned. Jason had them take the beam 
from the roof of the palace; it was brought to where the timbers 
were, and that day the building of the great ship was begun. 

Then all along the waterside came the noise of hammering; in 
the street where the metalworkers were came the noise of beating 


upon metals as the smiths fashioned out of bronze armor for the 
heroes and swords and spears. Every day, under the eyes of 
Argus the master, the ship that had in it the beam from Zeus's 
grove was built higher and wider. And those who were building 
the ship often felt going through it tremors as of a living 

When the ship was built and made ready for the voyage a name 
was given to it - - the ARGO it was called. And naming them- 
selves from the ship the heroes called themselves the ARGONAUTS. 
All was ready for the voyage, and now Jason went with his 
friends to view the ship before she was brought into the water. 

Argus the master was on the ship, seeing to it that the last 
things were being done before Argo was launched. Very grave 
and wise looked Argus Argus the builder of the ship. And 
wonderful to the heroes the ship looked now that Argus, for their 
viewing, had set up the mast with the sails and had even put the 
oars in their places. Wonderful to the heroes Argo looked with 
her long oars and her high sails, with her timbers painted red 
and gold and blue, and with a marvelous figure carved upon her 
prow. All over the ship Jason's eyes went. He saw a figure 
standing by the mast; for a moment he looked on it, and then 
the figure became shadowy. But Jason knew that he had looked 
upon the goddess whom he had seen in the ways of the forest and 
had seen afterward by the rough Anaurus. 

Then mast and sails were taken down and the oars were left in 


the ship, and the Argo was launched into the water. The heroes 
went back to the palace of King Pelias to feast with the king's 
guests before they took their places on the ship, setting out on 
the voyage to far Colchis. 

When they came into the palace they saw that another hero 
had arrived. His shield was hung in the hall; the heroes all 
gathered around, amazed at the size and the beauty of it. The 
shield shone all over with gold. In its center was the figure of 
Fear of Fear that stared backward with eyes burning as with 
fire. The mouth was open and the teeth were shown. And other 
figures were wrought around the figure of Fear Strife and Pur- 
suit and Flight; Tumult and Panic and Slaughter. The figure 
of Fate was there dragging a dead man by the feet; on her 
shoulders Fate had a garment that was red with the blood of men. 

Around these figures were heads of snakes, heads with black 
jaws and glittering eyes, twelve heads such as might affright any 
man. And on other parts of the shield were shown the horses of 
Ares, the grim god of war. The figure of Ares himself was 
shown also. He held a spear in his hand, and he was urging the 
warriors on. 

Around the inner rim of the shield the sea was shown, wrought 
in white metal. Dolphins swam in the sea, fishing for little fishes 
that were shown there in bronze. Around the rim chariots were 
racing along with wheels running close together; there were men 
fighting and women watching from high towers. The awful fig- 
ure of the Darkness of Death was shown there, too, with mournful 


eyes and the dust of battles upon her shoulders. The outer rim 
of the shield showed the Stream of Ocean, the stream that en- 
circles the world; swans were soaring above and swimming on 
its surface. 

All in wonder the heroes gazed on the great shield, telling each 
other that only one man in all the world could carry it - - Heracles 
the son of Zeus. Could it be that Heracles had come amongst 
them? They went into the feasting hall and they saw one there 
who was tall as a pine tree, with unshorn tresses of hair upon his 
head. Heracles indeed it was ! He turned to them a smiling face 
with smiling eyes. Heracles! They all gathered around the 
strongest hero in the world, and he took the hand of each in his 
mighty hand. 


HE heroes went the next day through the 
streets of lolcus down to where the ship 
lay. The ways they went through were 
crowded; the heroes were splendid in 
their appearance, and Jason amongst 
them shone like a star. 

The people praised him, and one told 
the other that it would not be long until they would win back to 
lolcus, for this band of heroes was strong enough, they said, to 
take King ^Eetes's city and force him to give up to them the 
famous Fleece of Gold. Many of the bright-eyed youths of lolcus 

1 J 


went with the heroes who had come from the different parts of 

As they marched past a temple a priestess came forth to speak 
to Jason; Iphias was her name. She had a prophecy to utter 
about the voyage. But Iphias was very old, and she stammered 
in her speech to Jason. What she said was not heard by him. 
The heroes went on, and ancient Iphias was left standing there 
as the old are left by the young. 

The heroes went aboard the Argo. They took their seats as at 
an assembly. Then Jason faced them and spoke to them all. 

"Heroes of the quest,' said Jason, "we have come aboard 
the great ship that Argus has built, and all that a ship needs is 
in its place or is ready to our hands. All that we wait for now is 
the coming of the morning's breeze that will set us on our way 
for far Colchis. 

"One thing we have first to do that is, to choose a leader 
who will direct us all, one who will settle disputes amongst our- 
selves and who will make treaties between us and the strangers 
that we come amongst. We must choose such a leader now.' 

Jason spoke, and some looked to him and some looked to 
Heracles. But Heracles stood up, and, stretching out his hand, 

"Argonauts! Let no one amongst you offer the leadership to 
me. I will not take it. The hero who brought us together and 
made all things ready for our going - - it is he and no one else who 
should be our leader in this voyage.' 


So Heracles said, and the Argonauts all stood up and raised a 
cry for Jason. Then Jason stepped forward, and he took the hand 
of each Argonaut in his hand, and he swore that he would lead 
them with all the mind and all the courage that he possessed. 
And he prayed the gods that it would be given to him to lead 
them back safely with the Golden Fleece glittering on the mast 
of the Argo. 

They drew lots for the benches they would sit at; they took 
the places that for the length of the voyage they would have on 
the ship. They made sacrifice to the gods and they waited for 
the breeze of the morning that would help them away from lolcus. 

And while they waited ^Eson, the father of Jason, sat at his 
own hearth, bowed and silent in his grief. Alcimide, his wife, 
sat near him, but she was not silent; she lamented to the women 
of lolcus who were gathered around her. "I did not go down to 
the ship," she said, "for with my grief I would not be a bird of 
ill omen for the voyage. By this hearth my son took farewell of 
me the only son I ever bore. From the doorway I watched 
him go down the street of the city, and I heard the people shout 
as he went amongst them, they glorying in my son's splendid ap- 
pearance. Ah, that I might live to see his return and to hear the 
shout that will go up when the people look on Jason again ! But 
I know that my life will not be spared so long; I will not look on 
my son when he comes back from the dangers he will run in the 
quest of the Golden Fleece. >: 


Then the women of lolcus asked her to tell them of the Golden 
Fleece, and Alcimide told them of it and of the sorrows that 
were upon the race of ^Eolus. 

Cretheus, the father of /Eson and Pelias, was of the race of 
^Eolus, and of the race of ^Eolus, too, was Athamas, the king who 
ruled in Thebes at the same time that Cretheus ruled in lolcus. 
And the first children of Athamas were Phrixus and Helle. 

"Ah, Phrixus and ah, Helle, >; Alcimide lamented, "what 
griefs you have brought on the race of ^Eolus ! And what griefs 
you yourselves suffered! The evil that Athamas, your father, 
did you lives to be a curse to the line of ^Eolus! 

"Athamas was wedded first to Nephele, the mother of Phrixus 
and Helle, the youth and maiden. But Athamas married again 
while the mother of these children was still living, and Ino, the 
new queen, drove Nephele and her children out of the king's 

"And now was Nephele most unhappy. She had to live as a 
servant, and her children were servants to the servants of the 
palace. They were clad in rags and had little to eat, and they 
were beaten often by the servants who wished to win the favor 
of the new queen. 

"But although they wore rags and had menial tasks to do, 
Phrixus and Helle looked the children of a queen. The boy was 
tall, and in his eyes there often came the flash of power, and the 
girl looked as if she would grow into a lovely maiden. And when 
Athamas, their father, would meet them by chance he would sigh, 


and Queen Ino would know by that sigh that he had still some 
love for them in his heart. Afterward she would have to use all 
the power she possessed to win the king back from thinking upon 
his children. 

"And now Queen Ino had children of her own. She knew that 
the people reverenced the children of Nephele and cared nothing 
for her children. And because she knew this she feared that when 
Athamas died Phrixus and Helle, the children of Nephele, would 
be brought to rule in Thebes. Then she and her children w^ould 
be made to change places with them. 

"This made Queen Ino think on ways by which she could make 
Phrixus and Helle lose their lives. She thought long upon this, 
and at last a desperate plan came into her mind. 

"When it was winter she went amongst the women of the 
countryside, and she gave them jewels and clothes for presents. 
Then she asked them to do secretly an unheard-of thing. She 
asked the women to roast over their fires the grains that had 
been left for seed. This the women did. Then spring came on, 
and the men sowed in the fields the grain that had been roasted 
over the fires. No shoots grew up as the spring went by. In 
summer there was no waving greenness in the fields. Autumn 
came, and there was no grain for the reaping. Then the men, not 
knowing what had happened, went to King Athamas and told 
him that there would be famine in the land. 

"The king sent to the temple of Artemis to ask how the people 
might be saved from the famine. And the guardians of the temple, 


having taken gold from Queen Ino, told them that there would be 
worse and worse famine and that all the people of Thebes would 
die of hunger unless the king was willing to make a great sacrifice. 

"When the king asked what sacrifice he should make he was 
told by the guardians of the temple that he must sacrifice to the 
goddess his two children, Phrixus and Helle. Those who were 
around the king, to save themselves from famine after famine, 
clamored to have the children sacrificed. Athamas, to save his 
people, consented to the sacrifice. 

"They went toward the king's palace. They found Helle by 
the bank of the river washing clothes. They took her and bound 
her. They found Phrixus, half naked, digging in a field, and they 
took him, too, and bound him. That night they left brother and 
sister in the same prison. Helle wept over Phrixus, and Phrixus 
wept to think that he was not able to do anything to save his 

"The servants of the palace went to Nephele, and they mocked 
at her, telling her that her children would be sacrified on the 
morrow. Nephele nearly went wild in her grief. And then, 
suddenly, there came into her mind the thought of a creature that 
might be a helper to her and to her children. 

"This creature was a ram that had wings and a wonderful 
fleece of gold. The god of the sea, Poseidon, had sent this 
wonderful ram to Athamas and Nephele as a marriage gift. And 
the ram had since been kept in a special fold. 

"To that fold Nephele went. She spent the night beside the 


ram praying for its help. The morning came and the children 
were taken from their prison and dressed in white, and wreaths 
were put upon their heads to mark them as things for sacrifice. 
They were led in a procession to the temple of Artemis. Behind 
that procession King Athamas walked, his head bowed in shame. 

"But Queen Ino's head was not bowed; rather she carried it 
high, for her thought was all upon her triumph. Soon Phrixus 
and Helle would be dead, and then, whatever happened, her own 
children would reign after Athamas in Thebes. 

" Phrixus and Helle, thinking they were taking their last look 
at the sun, went on. And even then Nephele, holding the horns 
of the golden ram, was making her last prayer. The sun rose and 
as it did the ram spread out its great wings and flew through the 
air. It flew to the temple of Artemis. Down beside the altar came 
the golden ram, and it stood with its horns threatening those who 
came. All stopped in surprise. Still the ram stood with threaten- 
ing head and great golden wings spread out. Then Phrixus ran 
from those who were holding him and laid his hands upon the 
ram. He called to Helle and she, too, came to the golden creature. 
Phrixus mounted on the ram and he pulled Helle up beside him. 
Then the golden ram flew upward. Up, up, it went, and with the 
children upon its back it became like a star in the day-lit sky. 

"Then Queen Ino, seeing the children saved by the golden ram, 
shrieked and fled away from that place. Athamas ran after her. 
As she ran and as he followed hatred for her grew up within him. 
Ino ran on and on until she came to the cliffs that rose over the 


sea. Fearing Athamas who came behind her she plunged down. 
But as she fell she was changed by Poseidon, the god of the sea. 
She became a seagull. Athamas, who followed her, was changed 
also; he became the sea eagle that, with beak and talons ever 
ready to strike, flies above the sea. 

"And the golden ram with wings outspread flew on and on. 
Over the sea it flew while the wind whistled around the children. 
On and on they went, and the children saw only the blue sea 
beneath them. Then poor Helle, looking downward, grew dizzy. 
She fell off the golden ram before her brother could take hold of 
her. Down she fell, and still the ram flew on and on. She was 
drowned in that sea. The people afterward named it in memory 
of her, calling it ''Hellespont' 'Helle's Sea.' 

"On and on the ram flew. Over a wild and barren country it 
flew and toward a river. Upon that river a white city was built. 
Down the ram flew, and alighting on the ground, stood before 
the gate of that city. It was the city of Aea, in the land of 

"The king was in the street of the city, and he joined with the 
crowd that gathered around the strange golden creature that had 
a youth upon its back. The ram folded its wings and then the 
youth stood beside it. He spoke to the people, and then the 
king ^Eetes was his name spoke to him, asking him from 
what place he had come, and what was the strange creature upon 
whose back he had flown. 

"To the king and to the people Phrixus told his story, weeping 


to tell of Helle and her fall. Then King /Eetes brought him into 
the city, and he gave him a place in the palace, and for the golden 
ram he had a special fold made. 

"Soon after the ram died, and then King ^Eetes took its golden 
fleece and hung it upon an oak tree that was in a place dedicated 
to Ares, the god of war. Phrixus wed one of the daughters of 
the king, and men say that afterward he went back to Thebes, 
his own land. 

"And as for the Golden Fleece it became the greatest of 
King ^Eetes's treasures. Well indeed does he guard it, and not 
with armed men only, but with magic powers. Very strong and 
very cunning is King ^Eetes, and a terrible task awaits those who 
would take away from him that Fleece of Gold. ' 

So Alcimide spoke, sorrowfully telling to the women the story 
of the Golden Fleece that her son Jason was going in quest of. 
So she spoke, and the night waned, and the morning, of the sailing 
of the Argo came on. 

And when the Argonauts beheld the dawn upon the high peaks 
of Pelion they arose and poured out wine in offering to Zeus, the 
highest of the gods. Then Argo herself gave forth a strange 
cry, for the beam from Dodona that had been formed into her prow 
had endued her with life. She uttered a strange cry, and as she 
did the heroes took their places at the benches, one after the 
other, as had been arranged by lot, and Tiphys, the helmsman, 
went to the steering place. To the sound of Orpheus's lyre they 


smote with oars the rushing sea water, and the surge broke over 
the oar blades. The sails were let out and the breeze came into 
them, piping shrilly, and the fishes came darting through the 
green sea, great and small, and followed them, gamboling along 
the watery paths. And Chiron, the king-centaur, came down 
from the Mountain Pelion, and standing with his feet in the foam 
cried out, "Good speed, O Argonauts, good speed, and a sorrow- 
less return." 


Orpheus sang to his lyre, Orpheus the minstrel, who knew the 
ways and the stories of the gods; out in the open sea on the first 
morning of the voyage Orpheus sang to them of the beginning of 

He sang how at first Earth and Heaven and Sea were all mixed 
and mingled together. There was neither Light nor Darkness 
then, but only a Dimness. This was Chaos. And from Chaos 
came forth Night and Erebus. From Night was born ^Ether, the 
Upper Air, and from Night and Erebus wedded there was born 

And out of Chaos came Earth, and out of Earth came the 
starry Heaven. And from Heaven and Earth wedded there were 
born the Titan gods and goddesses Oceanus, Coeus, Crius, 
Hyperion, lapetus; Theia, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, gold- 
crowned Phoebe, and lovely Tethys. And then Heaven and Earth 
had for their child Cronos, the most cunning of all. 


Cronos wedded Rhea, and from Cronos and Rhea were born the 
gods who were different from the Titan gods. 

But Heaven and Earth had other children - - Cottus, Briareus, 
and Gyes. These were giants, each with fifty heads and a 
hundred arms. And Heaven grew fearful when he looked on 
these giant children, and he hid them away in the deep places of 
the Earth. 

Cronos hated Heaven, his father. He drove Heaven, his 
father, and Earth, his mother, far apart. And far apart they 
stay, for they have never been able to come near each other since. 
And Cronos married to Rhea had for children Hestia, Demeter, 
Hera, Aidoneus, and Poseidon, and these all belonged to the 
company of the deathless gods. Cronos was fearful that one of 
his sons would treat him as he had treated Heaven, his father. 
So when another child was born to him and his wife Rhea he 
commanded that the child be given to him so that he might 
swallow him. But Rhea wrapped a great stone in swaddling 
clothes and gave the stone to Cronos. And Cronos swallowed 
the stone, thinking to swallow his latest-born child. 

That child was Zeus. Earth took Zeus and hid him in a deep 
cave and those who minded and nursed the child beat upon 
drums so that his cries might not be heard. His nurse was 
Adrastia; when he was able to play she gave him a ball to play 
with. All of gold was the ball, with a dark-blue spiral around it. 
When the boy Zeus would play with this ball it would make a 
track across the sky, flaming like a star. 


Hyperion the Titan god wed Theia the Titan goddess, and 
their children were Helios, the bright Sun, and Selene, the clear 
Moon. And Cceus wed Phcebe, and their children were Leto, 
who is kind to gods and men, and Asteria of happy name, and 
Hecate, whom Zeus honored above all. Now the gods who were 
the children of Cronos and Rhea went up unto the Mountain 
Olympus, and there they built their shining palaces. But the 
Titan gods who were born of Heaven and Earth went up to the 
Mountain Othrys, and there they had their thrones. 

Between the Olympians and the Titan gods of Othrys a war 
began. Neither side might prevail against the other. But 
now Zeus, grown up to be a youth, thought of how he might 
help the Olympians to overthrow the Titan gods. 

He went down into the deep parts of the Earth where the 
giants Cottus, Briareus, and Gyes had been hidden by their 
father. Cronos had bound them, weighing them down with 
chains. But now Zeus loosed them and the hundred-armed 
giants in their gratitude gave him the lightning and showed him 
how to use the thunderbolt. 

Zeus would have the giants fight against the Titan gods. But 
although they had mighty strength Cottus, Briareus, and Gyes 
had no fire of courage in their hearts. Zeus thought of a way to 
give them this courage; he brought the food and drink of the 
gods to them, ambrosia and nectar, and when they had eaten and 
drunk their spirits grew within the giants, and they were ready to 
make war upon the Titan gods. 


"Sons of Earth and Heaven," said Zeus to the hundred-armed 
giants, "a long time now have the Dwellers on Olympus been 
striving with the Titan gods. Do you lend your unconquerable 
might to the gods and help them to overthrow the Titans. ' 

Cottus, the eldest of the giants, answered, "Divine One, 
through your devising we are come back again from the murky 
gloom of the mid Earth and we have escaped from the hard bonds 
that Cronus laid upon us. Our minds are fixed to aid you in the 
war against the Titan gods.' 

So the hundred-armed giants said, and thereupon Zeus went and 
he gathered around him all who were born of Cronos and Rhea. 
Cronos himself hid from Zeus. Then the giants, with their fifty 
heads growing from their shoulders and their hundred hands, went 
forth against the Titan gods. The boundless sea rang terribly 
and the earth crashed loudly; wide Heaven was shaken and 
groaned, and high Olympus reeled from its foundation. Holding 
huge rocks in their hands the giants attacked the Titan gods. 

Then Zeus entered the war. He hurled the lightning; the 
bolts flew thick and fast from his strong hand, with thunder and 
lightning and flame. The earth crashed around in burning, the 
forests crackled with fire, the ocean seethed. And hot flames 
wrapped the earth-born Titans all around. Three hundred rocks, 
one upon another, did Cottus, Briareus, and Gyes hurl upon the 
Titans. And when their ranks were broken the giants seized 
upon them and held them for Zeus. 

But some of the Titan gods, seeing that the strife for them 


was vain, went over to the side of Zeus. These Zeus became 
friendly with. But the other Titans he bound in chains and he 
hurled them down to Tartarus. 

As far as Earth is from Heaven so is Tartarus from Earth. A 
brazen anvil falling down from Heaven to Earth nine days and 
nine nights would reach the earth upon the tenth day. And 
again, a brazen anvil falling from Earth nine nights and nine days 
would reach Tartarus upon the tenth night. Around Tartarus 
runs a fence of bronze and Night spreads in a triple line all about 
it, as a necklace circles the neck. There Zeus imprisoned the 
Titan gods who had fought against him; they are hidden in the 
misty gloom, in a dank place, at the ends of the Earth. And they 
may not go out, for Poseidon fixed gates of bronze upon their 
prison, and a wall runs all round it. There Cottus, Briareus, and 
Gyes stay, guarding them. 

And there, too, is the home of Night. Night and Day meet 
each other at that place, as they pass a threshold of bronze. They 
draw near and they greet one another, but the house never holds 
them both together, for while one is about to go down into the 
house, the other is leaving through the door. One holds Light 
in her hand and the other holds in her arms Sleep. 

There the children of dark Night have their dwellings Sleep, 
and Death, his brother. The sun never shines upon these two. 
Sleep may roam over the wide earth, and come upon the sea, and 
he is kindly to men. But Death is not kindly, and whoever he 
seizes upon, him he holds fast. 


There, too, stands the hall of the lord of the Underworld, 
Aidoneus, the brother of Zeus. Zeus gave him the Underworld to 
be his dominion when he shared amongst the Olympians the 
world that Cronos had ruled over. A fearful hound guards the 
hall of Aidoneus: Cerberus he is called; he has three heads. On 
those who go within that hall Cerberus fawns, but on those who 
would come out of it he springs and would devour them. 

Not all the Titans did Zeus send down to Tartarus. Those of 
them who had wisdom joined him, and by their wisdom Zeus was 
able to overcome Cronos. Then Cronos went to live with the 
friendly Titan gods, while Zeus reigned over Olympus, becoming 
the ruler of gods and men. 

So Orpheus sang, Orpheus who knew the ways and the histories 
of the gods. 



LL the places that the Argonauts came 
nigh to and went past need not be told 
Melibcea, where they escaped a stormy 
beach; Homole, from where they were 
able to look on Ossa and holy Olympus; 
Lemnos, the island that they were to 
return to; the unnamed country where 
the Earth-born Men abide, each having six arms, two growing 


from his shoulders, and four fitting close to his terrible sides; 
and then the Mountain of the Bears, where they climbed, to 
make sacrifice there to Rhea, the mighty mother of the gods. 

Afterward, for a whole day, no wind blew and the sail of the 
Argo hung slack. But the heroes swore to each other that they 
would make their ship go as swiftly as if the storm-footed steeds 
of Poseidon were racing to overtake her. Mightily they labored 
at the oars, and no one would be first to leave his rower's 

And then, just as the breeze of the evening came up, and just 
as the rest of the heroes were leaning back, spent with their 
labor, the oar that Heracles still pulled at broke, and half of it 
was carried away by the waves. Heracles sat there in ill humor, 
for he did not know what to do with his unlaboring hands. 

All through the night they went on with a good breeze filling 
their sails, and next day they came to the mouth of the River 
Cius. There they landed so that Heracles might get himself an 
oar. No sooner did they set their feet upon the shore than the 
hero went off into the forest, to pull up a tree that he might shape 
into an oar. 

Where they had landed was near to the country of the Bebry- 
cians, a rude people whose king was named Amycus. Now while 
Heracles was away from them this king came with his followers 
huge, rude men, all armed with clubs, down to where the Ar- 
gonauts were lighting their fires on the beach. 

He did not greet them courteously, asking them what manner 


of men they were and whither they were bound, nor did he offer 
them hospitality. Instead, he shouted at them insolently: 

" Listen to something that you rovers had better know. I am 
Amycus, and any stranger that comes to this land has to get into 
a boxing bout with me. That's the law that I have laid down. 
Unless you have one amongst you who can stand up to me you 
won't be let go back to your ship. If you don't heed my law, look 
out, for something's going to happen to you.' 

So he shouted, that insolent king, and his followers raised their 
clubs and growled approval of what their master said. But the 
Argonauts were not dismayed at the words of Amycus. One of 
them stepped toward the Bebrycians. He was Polydeuces, good 
at boxing. 

"Offer us no violence, king,' : said Polydeuces. "We are 
ready to obey the law that you have laid down. Willingly do I 
take up your challenge, and I will box a bout with you.' 

The Argonauts cheered when they saw Polydeuces, the good 
boxer, step forward, and when they heard what he had to say. 
Amycus turned and shouted to his followers, and one of them 
brought up two pairs of boxing gauntlets of rough cowhide 
they were. The Argonauts feared that Polydeuces' hands might 
have been made numb with pulling at the oar, and some of them 
went to him, and took his hands and rubbed them to make them 
supple; others took from off his shoulders his beautifully colored 

Amycus straightway put on his gauntlets and threw off his 


mantle ; he stood there amongst his followers with his great arms 
crossed, glowering at the Argonauts as a wild beast might glower. 
And when the two faced each other Amycus seemed like one of the 
Earth-born JMen, dark and hugely shaped, while Helen's brother 
stood there light and beautiful. Polydeuces was like that star 
whose beams are lovely at evening-tide. 

Like the wave that breaks over a ship and gives the sailors no 
respite Amycus came on at Polydeuces. He pushed in upon him, 
thinking to bear him down and overwhelm him. But as the skill- 
ful steersman keeps the ship from being overwhelmed by the 
monstrous wave, so Polydeuces, all skill and lightness, baffled the 
rushes of Amycus. At last Amycus, standing on the tips of his 
toes and rising high above him, tried to bring down his great fist 
upon the head of Polydeuces. The hero swung aside and took the 
blow on his shoulder. Then he struck his blow. It was a strong 
one, and under it the king of the Bebrycians staggered and fell 
down. "You see/ said Polydeuces, "that we keep your 

The Argonauts shouted, but the rude Bebrycians raised their 
clubs to rush upon them. Then would the heroes have been hard 
pressed, and forced, perhaps, to get back to the Argo. But sud- 
denly Heracles appeared amongst them, coming up from the 

He carried a pine tree in his hands with all its branches still 
upon it, and seeing this mighty-statured man appear with the great 
tree in his hands, the Bebrycians hurried off, carrying their fallen 


king with them. Then the Argonauts gathered around Poly- 
deuces, saluted him as their champion, and put a crown of vic- 
tory upon his head. Heracles, meanwhile, lopped off the 
branches of the pine tree and began to fashion it into an oar. 

The fires were lighted upon the shore, and the thoughts of all 
were turned to supper. Then young Hylas, who used to sit by 
Heracles and keep bright the hero's arms and armor, took a 
bronze vessel and went to fetch water. 

Never was there a boy so beautiful as young Hylas. He had 
golden curls that tumbled over his brow. He had deep blue 
eyes and a face that smiled at every glance that was given him, at 
,every word that was said to him. Now as he walked through the 
flowering grasses, with his knees bare, and with the bright vessel 
swinging in his hand, he looked most lovely. Heracles had 
brought the boy with him from the country of the Dryopians; 
he would have him sit beside him on the bench of the Argo, and 
the ill humors that often came upon him would go at the word? 
and the smile of Hylas. 

Now the spring that Hylas was going toward was called Pegae, 
and it was haunted by the nymphs. They were dancing around 
it when they heard Hylas singing. They stole softly off to watch 
him. Hidden behind trees the nymphs saw the boy come near, 
and they felt such love for him that they thought they could 
never let him go from their sight. 

They stole back to their spring, and they sank down below 
its clear surface. Then came Hylas singing a song that he had 



heard from his mother. He bent down to the spring, and the 
brimming water flowed into the sounding bronze of the pitcher. 
Then hands came out of the water. One of the nymphs caught 
Hylas by the elbow; another put her arms around his neck, an- 
other took the hand that held the vessel of bronze. The pitcher 
sank down to the depths of the spring. The hands of the nymphs 
clasped Hylas tighter, tighter; the water bubbled around him 
as they drew him down. Down, down they drew him, and into 
the cold and glimmering cave where they live. 

There Hylas stayed. But although the nymphs kissed him and 
sang to him, and showed him lovely things, Hylas was not 
content to be there. 

Where the Argonauts were the fires burned, the moon arose, 
and still Hylas did not return. Then they began to fear lest a 
wild beast had destroyed the boy. One went to Heracles and 
told him that young Hylas had not come back, and that they 
were fearful for him. Heracles flung down the pine tree that he 
was fashioning into an oar, and he dashed along the way that 
Hylas had gone as if a gadfly were stinging him. " Hylas, Hylas, " 
he cried. But Hylas, in the cold and glimmering cave that the 
nymphs had drawn him into, did not hear the call of his friend 

All the Argonauts went searching, calling as they went through 
the island, " Hylas, Hylas, Hylas!" But only their own calls 
came back to them. The morning star came up, and Tiphys, 
the steersman, called to them from the Argo. And when they 


came to the ship Tiphys told them that they would have to go 
aboard and make ready to sail from that place. 

They called to Heracles, and Heracles at last came down to 
the ship. They spoke to him, saying that they would have to sail 
away. Heracles would not go on board. "I will not leave this 
island,' he said, "until I find young Hylas or learn what has 
happened to him.' 

Then Jason arose to give the command to depart. But before 
the words were said Telamon stood up and faced him. " Jason, ' 
he said angrily, "you do not bid Heracles come on board, and 
you would have the Argo leave without him. You would leave 
Heracles here so that he may not be with us on the quest where 
his glory might overshadow your glory, Jason. ' 

Jason said no word, but he sat back on his bench with head 
bowed. And then, even as TelamoD said these angry words, a 
strange figure rose up out of the waves of the sea. 

It was the figure of a man, wrinkled and old, with seaweed in 
his beard and his hair. There was a majesty about him, and the 
Argonauts all knew that this was one of the immortals he was 
\ereus, the ancient one of the sea. 

c To Heracles, and to you, the rest of the Argonauts, I have a 
thing to say," said the ancient one, Nereus. "Know, first, that 
Hylas has been taken by the nymphs who love him and who 
think to win his love, and that he will stay forever with them in 
their cold and glimmering cave. For Hylas seek no more. And 
to you, Heracles, I will say this : Go aboard the Argo again; the 


ship will take you to where a great labor awaits you, and which, 
in accomplishing, you will work out the will of Zeus. You will 
know what this labor is when a spirit seizes on you.' So the 
ancient one of the sea said, and he sank back beneath the waves. 
Heracles went aboard the Argo once more, and he took his place 
on the bench, the new oar in his hand. Sad he was to think that 
young Hylas who used to sit at his knee would never be there 
again. The breeze filled the sail, the Argonauts pulled at the oars, 
and in sadness they watched the island where young Hylas 
had been lost to them recede from their view. 


AID Tiphys, the steersman: "If we could 
enter the Sea of Pontus, we could 
make our way across that sea to Colchis in 
a short time. But the passage into the 
Sea of Pontus is most perilous, and few 
mortals dare even to make approach to 

Said Jason, the chieftain of the host: "The dangers of the 
passage, Tiphys, we have spoken of, and it may be that we shall 
have to carry Argo overland to the Sea of Pontus. But you, 
Tiphys, have spoken of a wise king who is hereabouts, and who 
might help us to make the dangerous passage. Speak again to 
us, and tell us what the dangers of the passage are, and who the 


kini: is who may be able to help us to make these dangers 


Then said Tiphys, the steersman of the Argo: "No ship sailed 
by mortals has as yet gone through the passage that brings this 
sea into the Sea of Pontus. In the way are the rocks that mari- 
ners call The Clashers. These rocks are not fixed as rocks should 
be, but they rush one against the other, dashing up the sea, and 
crushing whatever may be between. Yea, if Argo were of iron, 
and if she were between these rocks when they met, she would be 
crushed to bits. I have sailed as far as that passage, but seeing 
The Clashers strike together I turned back my ship, and jour- 
neyed as far as the Sea of Pontus overland. 

"But I have been told of one who knows how a ship may be 
taken through the passage that The Clashers make so perilous. 
He who knows is a king hereabouts, Phineus, who has made him- 
self as wise as the gods. To no one has Phineus told how 
the passage may be made, but knowing what high favor has 
been shown to us, the Argonauts, it may be that he will 
tell us." 

So Tiphys said, and Jason commanded him to steer the Argo 
toward the city where ruled Phineus, the wise king. 

To Salmydessus, then, where Phineus ruled, Tiphys steered 
the Argo. They left Heracles with Tiphys aboard to guard the 
ship, and, with the rest of the heroes, Jason went through the 
streets of the city. They met many men, but when they asked 


any of them how they might come to the palace of King Phineus 
the men turned fearfully away. 

They found their way to the king's palace. Jason spoke to the 
servants and bade them tell the king of their coming. The serv- 
ants, too, seemed fearful, and as Jason and his comrades were 
wondering what there was about him that made men fearful at 
his name, Phineus, the king, came amongst them. 

Were it not that he had a purple border to his robe no one 
would have known him for the king, so miserable did this man 
seem. He crept along, touching the walls, for the eyes in his head 
were blind and withered. His body was shrunken, and when he 
stood before them leaning on his staff he was like to a lifeless 
thing. He turned his blinded eyes upon them, looking from one 
to the other as if he were searching for a face. 

Then his sightless eyes rested upon Zetes and Calais, the sons 
of Boreas, the North Wind. A change came into his face as it 
turned upon them. One would think that he saw the wonder 
that these two were endowed with - - the wings that grew upon 
their ankles. It was a while before he turned his face from them; 
then he spoke to Jason and said : 

1 'You have come to have counsel with one who has the wisdom 
of the gods. Others before you have come for such counsel, but 
seeing the misery that is visible upon me they went without ask- 
ing for counsel. I would strive to hold you here for a while. 
Stay, and have sight of the misery the gods visit upon those who 
would be as wise as they. And when you have seen the thing 


that is wont to befall me, it may be that help will come from 
you for me.' 

Then Phineus, the blind king, left them, and after a while the 
heroes were brought into a great hall, and they were invited to 
rest themselves there while a banquet was being prepared for 

The hall was richly adorned, but it looked to the heroes as if 
it had known strange happenings; rich hangings were strewn 
upon the ground, an ivory chair was overturned, and the dais 
where the king sat had stains upon it. The servants who went 
through the hall making ready the banquet were white-faced and 

The feast was laid on a great table, and the heroes were invited 
to sit down to it. The king did not come into the hall before they 
sat down, but a table with food was set before the dais. When 
the heroes had feasted, the king came into the hall. He sat at 
the table, blind, white-faced, and shrunken, and the Argonauts 
all turned their faces to him. 

Said Phineus, the blind king: "You see, O heroes, how much 
my wisdom avails me. You see me blind and shrunken, who 
tried to make myself in wisdom equal to the gods. And yet you 
have not seen all. Watch now and see what feasts Phineus, the 
wise king, has to delight him. ' 

He made a sign, and the white-faced and trembling servants 
brought food and set it upon the table that was before him. The 
king bent forward as if to eat, and they saw that his face was 


covered with the damp of fear. He took food from the dish and 
raised it to his mouth. As he did, the doors of the hall were flung 
open as if by a storm. Strange shapes flew into the hall and set 
themselves beside the king. And when the Argonauts looked 
upon them they saw that these were terrible and unsightly 

They were things that had the wings and claws of birds and the 
heads of women. Black hair and gray feathers were mixed upon 
them; they had red eyes, and streaks of blood were upon their 
breasts and wings. And as the king raised the food to his mouth 
they flew at him and buffeted his head with their wings, and 
snatched the food from his hands. Then they devoured or 
scattered what was upon the table, and all the time they screamed 
and laughed and mocked. 

"Ah, now ye see," Phineus panted, "what it is to have 
wisdom equal to the wisdom of the gods. Now ye all see my 
misery. Never do I strive to put food to my lips but these foul 
things, the Harpies, the Snatchers, swoop down and scatter or 
devour what I would eat. Crumbs they leave me that my life 
may not altogether go from me, but these crumbs they make foul 
to my taste and my smell. ' : 

And one of the Harpies perched herself on the back of the 
king's throne and looked upon the heroes with red eyes. "Hah, " 
she screamed, "you bring armed men into your feasting hall, 
thinking to scare us away. Never, Phineus, can you scare us 
from you! Always you will have us, the Snatchers, beside you 


when you would still your ache of hunger. What can these men 
do against us who are winged and who can travel through the 
ways of the air?' 

So said the unsightly Harpy, and the heroes drew together, 
made fearful by these awful shapes. All drew back except Zetes 
and Calais, the sons of the North Wind. They laid their hands 
upon their swords. The wings on their shoulders spread out 
and the wings at their heels trembled. Phineus, the king, leaned 
forward and panted: "By the wisdom I have I know that there 
are two amongst you who can save me. make haste to help me, 
ye who can help me, and I will give the counsel that you Argo- 
nauts have come to me for, and besides I will load down your 
ship with treasure and costly stuffs. Oh, make haste, ye who 
can help me!' 

Hearing the king speak like this, the Harpies gathered together 
and gnashed with their teeth, and chattered to one another. 
Then, seeing Zetes and Calais with their hands upon their swords, 
they rose up on their wings and flew through the wide doors of 
the hall. The king cried out to Zetes and Calais. But the sons 
of the North Wind had already risen with their wings, and they 
were after the Harpies, their bright swords in their hands. 

On flew the Harpies, screeching and gnashing their teeth in 
anger and dismay, for now they felt that they might be driven 
from Salmydessus, where they had had such royal feasts. They 
rose high in the air and flew out toward the sea. But high as the 
Harpies rose, the sons of the North Wind rose higher. The 


Harpies cried pitiful cries as they flew on, but Zetes and Calais 
felt no pity for them, for they knew that these dread Snatchers, 
with the stains of blood upon their breasts and wings, had 
shown pity neither to Phineus nor to any other. 

On they flew until they came to the island that is called the 
Floating Island. There the Harpies sank down with wearied 
wings. Zetes and Calais were upon them now, and they would 
have cut them to pieces with their bright swords, if the messenger 
of Zeus, Iris, with the golden wings, had not come between. 

" Forbear to slay the Harpies, sons of Boreas, " cried Iris warn- 
ingly, " forbear to slay the Harpies that are the hounds of Zeus. 
Let them cower here and hide themselves, and I, who come from 
Zeus, will swear the oath that the gods most dread, that they will 
never again come to Salmydessus to trouble Phineus, the king. " 

The heroes yielded to the words of Iris. She took the oath that 
the gods most dread - - the oath by the Water of Styx - - that 
never again would the Harpies show themselves to Phineus. 
Then Zetes and Calais turned back toward the city of Salmy- 
dessus. The island that they drove the Harpies to had been 
called the Floating Island, but thereafter it was called the Island 
of Turning. It was evening when they turned back, and all night 
long the Argonauts and King Phineus sat in the hall of the palace 
and awaited the return of Zetes and Calais, the sons of the North 




HEY came into King Phineus's hall, their 
bright swords in their hands. The Argo- 
nauts crowded around them and King 
Phineus raised his head and stretched out 
his thin hands to them. And Zetes and 
Calais told their comrades and told the 
king how they had driven the Harpies 
down to the Floating Island, and how Iris, the messenger of 
Zeus, had sworn the great oath that was by the Water of Styx 
that never again would the Snatchers show themselves in the 

Then a great golden cup brimming with wine was brought to 
the king. He stood holding it in his trembling hands, fearful even 
then that the Harpies would tear the cup out of his hands. He 
drank - - long and deeply he drank - - and the dread shapes of 
the Snatchers did not appear. Down amongst the heroes he came 
and he took into his the hands of Zetes and Calais, the sons of 
the North Wind. 

" heroes greater than any kings, " he said, "ye have delivered 
me from the terrible curse that the gods had sent upon me. I 
thank ye, and I thank ye all, heroes of the quest. And the 
thanks of Phineus will much avail you all. ' 

Clasping the hands of Zetes and Calais he led the heroes through 


hall after hall of his palace and down into his treasure chamber. 
There he bestowed upon the banishers of the Harpies crowns and 
arm rings of gold and richly colored garments and brazen chests 
in which to store the treasure that he gave. And to Jason he gave 
an ivory-hilted and gold-encased sword, and on each of the 
voyagers he bestowed a rich gift, not forgetting the heroes who 
had remained on the Argo, Heracles and Tiphys. 

They went back to the great hall, and a feast was spread for 
the king and for the Argonauts. They ate from rich dishes and 
they drank from flowing wine cups. Phineus ate and drank as the 
heroes did, and no dread shapes came befo^g him to snatch from 
him nor to buffet him. But as Jason looked upon the man who 
had striven to equal the gods m wisdom, and noted his blinded 
eyes and shrunken face, he resolved never to harbor in his heart 
such presumption as Phineus had harbored. 

When the feast was finished the king spoke to Jason, telling 
him how the Argo might be guided through the Symplegades, the 
dread passage into the Sea of Pontus. He told them to bring 
their ship near to the Clashing Rocks. And one who had the keenest 
sight amongst them was to stand at the prow of the ship hold- 
ing a pigeon in his hands. As the rocks came together he was to 
loose the pigeon. If it found a space to fly through they would 
know that the Argo could make the passage, and they were to 
steer straight toward where the pigeon had flown. But if it flut- 
tered down to the sea, or flew back to them, or became lost in the 
clouds of spray, they were to know that the Argo might not make 


that passage. Then the heroes would have to take their ship 
overland to where they might reach the Sea of Pontus. 

That day they bade farewell to Phineus, and with the treasures 
he had bestowed upon them they went down to the Argo. To 
Heracles and Tiphys they gave the presents that the king had 
sent them. In the morning they drew the Argo out of the harbor 
of Salmydessus, and set sail again. 

But not until long afterward did they come to the Symplegades, 
the passage that was to be their great trial. For they landed 
first in a country that was full of woods, where they were wel- 
comed by a king who had heard of the voyagers and of their quest. 
There they stayed and hunted for many days in the woods. And 
there a great loss befell the Argonauts, for Tiphys, as he went 
through the woods, was bitten by a snake and died. He who 
had braved so many seas and so many storms lost his life away 
from the ship. The Argonauts made a tomb for him on the shore 
of that land - - a great pile of stones, in which they fixed upright 
his steering oar. Then they set sail again, and Nauplius was 
made the steersman of the ship. 

The course was not so clear to Nauplius as it had been to Tiphys. 
The steersman did not find his bearings, and for many days and 
nights the Argo was driven on a backward course. They came 
to an island that they knew to be that Island of Lemnos that they 
had passed on the first days of the voyage, and they resolved to 


rest there for a while, and then to press on for the passage into the 
Sea of Pontus. 

They brought the Argo near the shore. They blew trumpets 
and set the loudest voiced of the heroes to call out to those upon 
the island. But no answer came to them, and all day the Argo 
lay close to the island. 

There were hidden people watching them, people with bows 
in their hands and arrows laid along the bowstrings. And the 
people who thus threatened the unknowing Argonauts were women 
and young girls. 

There were no men upon the Island of Lemnos. Years before 
a curse had fallen upon the people of that island, putting strife 
between the men and the women. And the women had mastered 
the men and had driven them away from Lemnos. Since then 
some of the women had grown old, and the girls who were 
children when their fathers and brothers had been banished were 
now of an age with Atalanta, the maiden who went with the 

They chased the wild beasts of the island, and they tilled the 
fields, and they kept in good repair the houses that were built be- 
fore the banishing of the men. The older women served those 
who were younger, and they had a queen, a girl whose name was 

The women who watched with bows in their hands would have 
shot their arrows at the Argonauts if Hypsipyle's nurse, Polyxo, 


had not stayed them. She forbade them to shoot at the strangers 
until she had brought to them the queen's commands. 

She hastened to the palace and she found the young queen 
weaving at a loom. She told her about the ship and the strangers 
on board the ship, and she asked the queen what word she should 
bring to the guardian maidens. 

"Before you give a command, Hypsipyle," said Polyxo, the 
nurse, " consider these words of mine. We, the elder women, are 
becoming ancient now; in a few years we will not be able to serve 
you, the younger women, and in a few years more we will have 
gone into the grave and our places will know us no more. And 
you, the younger women, will be becoming strengthless, and no 
more will be you able to hunt in the woods nor to till the fields, 
and a hard old age will be before you. 

"The ship that is beside our shore may have come at a good 
time. Those on board are goodly heroes. Let them land in Lem- 
nos, and stay if they will. Let them wed with the younger women 
so that there may be husbands and wives, helpers and helpmeets, 
again in Lemnos." 

Hypsipyle, the queen, let the shuttle fall from her hands and 
stayed for a while looking full into Polyxo's face. Had her nurse 
heard her say something like this out of her dreams, she won- 
dered? She bade the nurse tell the guardian maidens to let the 
heroes land in safety, and that she herself would put the crown 
of King Thoas, her father, upon her head, and go down to the 
shore to welcome them. 


And now the Argonauts saw people along the shore and they 
caught sight of women's dresses. The loudest voiced amongst 
them shouted again, and they heard an answer given in a woman's 
voice. They drew up the Argo upon the shore, and they set foot 
upon the land of Lemnos. 

Jason stepped forth at the head of his comrades, and he was 
met by Hypsipyle, her father's crown upon her head, at the head 
of her maidens. They greeted each other, and Hypsipyle bade 
the heroes come with them to their town that was called Myrine 
and to the palace that was there. 

Wonderingly the Argonauts went, looking on women's forms 
and faces and seeing no men. They came to the palace and went 
within. Hypsipyle mounted the stone throne that was King 
Thoas's and the four maidens who were her guards stood each 
side of her. She spoke to the heroes in greeting and bade them 
stay in peace for as long as they would. She told them of the 
curse that had fallen upon the people of Lemnos, and of how the 
menfolk had been banished. Jason, then, told the queen what 
voyage he and his companions were upon and what quest they 
were making. Then in friendship the Argonauts and the women 
of Lemnos stayed together - - all the Argonauts except Heracles, 
and he, grieving still for Hylas, stayed aboard the Argo. 



ND now the Argonauts were no longer on 
a ship that was being dashed on by the 
sea and beaten upon by the winds. They 
had houses to live in; they had honey- 
tasting things to eat, and when they went 
through the island each man might have 
with him one of the maidens of Lemnos. 
It was a change that was welcome to the wearied voyagers. 

They helped the women in the work of the fields; they hunted 
the beasts with them, and over and over again they were sur- 
prised at how skillfully the women had ordered all affairs. 
Everything in Lemnos was strange to the Argonauts, and they 
stayed day after day, thinking each day a fresh adventure. 

Sometimes they would leave the fields and the chase, and this 
hero or that hero, with her who was his friend amongst the Lem- 
nian maidens, would go far into that strange land and look upon 
lakes that were all covered with golden and silver water lilies, 
or would gather the blue flowers from creepers that grew around 
dark trees, or would hide themselves so that they might listen to 
the quick-moving birds that sang in the thickets. Perhaps on 
their way homeward they would see the Argo in the harbor, and 
they would think of Heracles who was aboard, and they would 
call to him. But the ship and the voyage they had been on now 
seemed far away to them, and the Quest of the Golden Fleece 


seemed to them a story they had heard and that they had thought 
of, but that they could never think on again with all that fervor. 

When Jason looked on Hypsipyle he saw one who seemed to 
him to be only childlike in size. Greatly was he amazed at the 
words that poured forth from her as she stood at the stone throne 
of King Thoas he was amazed as one is amazed at the rush of 
rich notes that comes from the throat of a little bird; all that she 
said was made lightninglike by her eyes her eyes that were 
not clear and quiet like the eyes of the maidens he had seen 
in lolcus, but that were dark and burning. Her mouth was heavy 
and this heavy mouth gave a shadow to her face that but for it 
was all bright and lovely. 

Hypsipyle spoke two languages one, the language of the 
mothers of the women of Lemnos, which was rough and harsh, 
a speech to be flung out to slaves, and the other the language of 
Greece, which their fathers had spoken, and which Hypsipyle 
spoke in a way that made it sound like strange music. She spoke 
and walked and did all things in a queenlike way, and Jason 
could see that, for all her youth and childlike size, Hypsipyle 
was one who was a ruler. 

From the moment she took his hand it seemed that she could 
not bear to be away from him. Where he walked, she walked 
too; where he sat she sat before him, looking at him with her 
great eyes while she laughed or sang. 

Like the perfume of strange flowers, like the savor of strange 


fruit was Hypsipyle to Jason. Hours and hours he would spend 
sitting beside her or watching her while she arrayed herself in 
white or in brightly colored garments. Not to the chase and not 
into the fields did Jason go, nor did he ever go with the others 
into the Lemnian land; all day he sat in the palace with her, 
watching her, or listening to her singing, or to the long, fierce 
speeches that she used to make to her nurse or to the four 
maidens who attended her. 

In the evening they would gather in the hall of the palace, the 
Argonauts and the Lemnian maidens who were their comrades. 
There were dances, and always Jason and Hypsipyle danced to- 
gether. All the Lemnian maidens sang beautifully, but none of 
them had any stories to tell. 

And when the Argonauts would have stories told the Lemnian 
maidens would forbid any tale that was about a god or a hero; 
only stories that were about the goddesses or about some maiden 
would they let be told. 

Orpheus, who knew the histories of the gods, would have told 
them many stories, but the only story of his that they would 
come from the dance to listen to was a story of the goddesses, of 
Demeter and her daughter Persephone. 



Once when Demeter was going through the world, giving men 
grain to be sown in their fields, she heard a cry that came to her 
from across high mountains and that mounted up to her from 
the sea. Demeter's heart shook when she heard that cry, for 
she knew that it came to her from her daughter, from her only 
child, young Persephone. 

She stayed not to bless the fields in which the grain was 
being sown, but she hurried, hurried away, to Sicily and to the 
fields of Enna, where she had left Persephone. All Enna she 
searched, and all Sicily, but she found no trace of Persephone, 
nor of the maidens whom Persephone had been playing with. 
From all whom she met she begged for tidings, but although 
some had seen maidens gathering flowers and playing together, 
no one could tell Demeter why her child had cried out nor where 
she had since gone to. 

There were some who could have told her. One was Cyane, 
a water nymph. But Cyane, before Demeter came to her, had 
been changed into a spring of water. And now, not being able 
to speak and tell Demeter where her child had gone to and who 
had carried her away, she showed in the water the girdle of 
Persephone that she had caught in her hands. And Demeter, 
finding the girdle of her child in the spring, knew that she had 


been carried off by violence. She lighted a torch at Etna's 
burning mountain, and for nine days and nine nights she went 
searching for her through the darkened places of the earth. 

Then, upon a high and a dark hill, the Goddess Demeter came 
face to face with Hecate, the Moon. Hecate, too, had heard 
the cry of Persephone; she had sorrow for Demeter's sorrow: 
she spoke to her as the two stood upon that dark, high hill, 
and told her that she should go to Helios for tidings to bright 
Helios, the watcher for the gods, and beg Helios to tell her who 
it was who had carried off by violence her child Persephone. 

Demeter came to Helios. He was standing before his shining 
steeds, before the impatient steeds that draw the sun through 
the course of the heavens. Demeter stood in the way of those 
impatient steeds; she begged of Helios who sees all things upon 
the earth to tell her who it was had carried off by violence 
Persephone, her child. 

And Helios, who may make no concealment, said: " Queenly 
Demeter, know that the king of the Underworld, dark Aido= 
neus, has carried off Persephone to make her his queen in the 
realm that I never shine upon." He spoke, and as he did, his 
horses shook their manes and breathed out fire, impatient to 
be gone. Heh'os sprang into his chariot and went flashing 

Demeter, knowing that one of the gods had carried off Per- 
sephone against her will, and knowing that what was done had 
been done by the will of Zeus, would go no more into the assem- 


blies of the gods. She quenched the torch that she had held in 
her hands for nine days and nine nights; she put off her robe 
of goddess, and she went wandering over the earth, uncom- 
forted for the loss of her child. And no longer did she appear 
as a gracious goddess to men; no longer did she give them 
grain; no longer did she bless their fields. None of the things 
that it had pleased her once to do would Demeter do any longer. 


Persephone had been playing with the nymphs who are the 
daughters of Ocean Phaeno, lanthe, Melita, laneira, Acaste 
in the lovely fields of Enna. They went to gather flowers 
irises and crocuses, lilies, narcissus, hyacinths and rose- 
blooms that grow in those fields. As they went, gathering 
flowers in their baskets, they had sight of Fergus, the pool 
that the white swans come to sing in. 

Beside a deep chasm that had been made in the earth a 
wonder flower was growing in color it was like the crocus, 
but it sent forth a perfume that was like the perfume of a 
hundred flowers. And Persephone thought as she went toward 
it that having gathered that flower she would have something 
much more wonderful than her companions had. 

She did not know that Aidoneus, the lord of the Underworld, 
had caused that flower to grow there so that she might be 
drawn by it to the chasm that he had made. 

As Persephone stooped to pluck the wonder flower, Aidoneus, 


in his chariot of iron, dashed up through the chasm, and grasp- 
ing the maiden by the waist, set her beside him. Only Cyane, 
the nymph, tried to save Persephone, and it was then that she 
caught the girdle in her hands. 

The maiden cried out, first because her flowers had been 
spilled, and then because she was being reft away. She cried 
out to her mother, and her cry went over high mountains and 
sounded up from the sea. The daughters of Ocean, affrighted, 
fled and sank down into the depths of the sea. 

In his great chariot of iron that was drawn by black steeds 
Aidoneus rushed down through the chasm he had made. Into 
the Underworld he went, and he dashed across the River 
Styx, and he brought his chariot up beside his throne. And on 
his dark throne he seated Persephone, the fainting daughter of 


No more did the Goddess Demeter give grain to men; no 
more did she bless their fields: weeds grew where grain had been 
growing, and men feared that in a while they would famish for 
lack of bread. 

She wandered through the world, her thought all upon her 
child, Persephone, who had been taken from her. Once she sat 
by a well by a wayside, thinking upon the child that she might 
not come to and who might not come to her. 

She saw four maidens come near; their grace and their youth 


reminded her of her child. They stepped lightly along, carry- 
ing bronze pitchers in their hands, for they were coming to the 
Well of the Maiden beside which Demeter sat. 

The maidens thought when they looked upon her that the 
goddess was some ancient woman who had a sorrow in her 
heart. Seeing that she was so noble and so sorrowful looking, 
the maidens, as they drew the clear water into their pitchers, 
spoke kindly to her. 

"Why do you stay away from the town, old mother? r one 
of the maidens said. "Why do you not come to the houses? 
We think that you look as if you were shelterless and alone, 
and we should like to tell you that there are many houses in 
the town where you would be welcomed." 

Demeter's heart went out to the maidens, because they 
looked so young and fair and simple and spoke out of such kind 
hearts. She said to them: "Where can I go, dear children? 
My people are far away, and there are none in all the world 
who would care to be near me." 

Said one of the maidens: "There are princes in the land who 
would welcome you in their houses if you would consent to 
nurse one of their young children. But why do I speak of 
other princes beside Celeus, our father? In his house you would 
indeed have a welcome. But lately a baby has been born to 
our mother, Metaneira, and she would greatly rejoice to have 
one as wise as you mind little Demophoon." 

All the time that she watched them and listened to their 


voices Demeter felt that the grace and youth of the maidens 
made them like Persephone. She thought that it would ease 
her heart to be in the house where these maidens were, and she 
was not loath to have them go and ask of their mother to have 
her come to nurse the infant child. 

Swiftly they ran back to their home, their hair streaming 
behind them like crocus flowers; kind and lovely girls whose 
names are well remembered Callidice and Cleisidice, Demo 
and Callithoe. They went to their mother and they told her 
of the stranger-woman whose name was Doso. She would make 
a wise and a kind nurse for little Demophoon, they said. Their 
mother, Metaneira, rose up from the couch she was sitting on 
to welcome the stranger. But when she saw her at the door- 
way, awe came over her, so majestic she seemed. 

Metaneira would have her seat herself on the couch but the 
goddess took the lowliest stool, saying in greeting: "May the 
gods give you all good, lady." 

"Sorrow has set you wandering from your good home," said 
Metaneira to the goddess, "but now that you have come to this 
place you shall have all that this house can bestow if you will 
rear up to youth the infant Demophoon, child of many hopes 
and prayers." 

The child was put into the arms of Demeter; she clasped 
him to her breast, and little Demophoon looked up into her face 
and smiled. Then Demeter 's heart went out to the child and 
to all who were in the household. 


He grew in strength and beauty in her charge. And little 
Demophoon was not nourished as other children are nourished, 
but even as the gods in their childhood were nourished. De- 
meter fed him on ambrosia, breathing on him with her divine 
breath the while. And at night she laid him on the hearth, 
amongst the embers, with the fire all around him. This she 
did that she might make him immortal, and like to the gods. 

But one night Metaneira looked out from the chamber where 
she lay, and she saw the nurse take little Demophoon and lay 
him in a place on the hearth with the burning brands all around 
him. Then Metaneira started up, and she sprang to the hearth, 
and she snatched the child from beside the burning brands. 
" Demophoon, my son," she cried, "what would this stranger- 
woman do to you, bringing bitter grief to me that ever I let 
her take you in her arms?" 

Then said Demeter: "Foolish indeed are you mortals, and 
not able to foresee what is to come to you of good or of evil! 
Foolish indeed are you, Metaneira, for in your heedlessness you 
have cut off this child from an immortality like to the immor- 
tality of the gods themselves. For he had lain in my bosom 
and had become dear to me and I would have bestowed upon 
him the greatest gift that the Divine Ones can bestow, for I 
would have made him deathless and unaging. All this, now, 
has gone by. Honor he shall have indeed, but Demophoon 
will know age and death." 

The seeming old age that was upon her had fallen from 


Demeter; beauty and stature were hers, and from her robe 
there came a heavenly fragrance. There came such light from 
her body that the chamber shone. Metaneira remained trem- 
bling and speechless, unmindful even to take up the child that 
had been laid upon the ground. 

It was then that his sisters heard Demophoon wail; one ran 
from her chamber and took the child in her arms; another 
kindled again the fire upon the hearth, and the others made 
ready to bathe and care for the infant. All night they cared 
for him, holding him in their arms and at their breasts, but 
the child would not be comforted, becauses the nurses who 
handled him now were less skillful than was the goddess-nurse. 

And as for Demeter, ne left the house of Celeus and went 
upon her way, lonely in her heart, and unappeased. And in 
the world that she wandered through, the plow went in vain 
through the ground; the furrow was sown without any avail, and 
the race of men saw themselves near perishing for lack of bread. 

But again Demeter came near the Well of the Maiden. She 
thought of the daughters of Celeus as they came toward the well 
that day, the bronze pitchers in their hands, and with kind looks 
for the stranger - - she thought of them as she sat by the well 
again. And then she thought of little Demophoon, the child 
she had held at her breast. No stir of living was in the land 
near their home, and only weeds grew in their fields. As she 
sat there and looked around her there came into Demeter 's 
heart a pity for the people in whose house she had dwelt. 


She rose up and she went to the house of Celeus. She 
found him beside his house measuring out a little grain. The 
goddess went to him and she told him that because of the love 
she bore his household she would bless his fields so that the 
seed he had sown in them would come to growth. Celeus re- 
joiced, and he called all the people together, and they raised a 
temple to Demeter. She went through the fields and blessed 
them, and the seed that they had sown began to grow. And 
the goddess for a while dwelt amongst that people, in her temple 
at Eleusis. 


But still she kept away from the assemblies of the gods. 
Zeus sent a messenger to her, Iris with the golden wings, bid- 
ding her to Olympus. Demeter would not join the Olympians. 
Then, one after the other, the gods and goddesses of Olympus 
came to her; none were able to make her cease from grieving 
for Persephone, or to go again into the company of the immortal 

And so it came about that Zeus was compelled to send a 
messenger down to the Underworld to bring Persephone back 
to the mother who grieved so much for the loss of her. Hermes 
was the messenger whom Zeus sent. Through the darkened 
places of the earth Hermes went, and he came to that dark 
throne where the lord Aidoneus sat, with Persephone beside him. 
Then Hermes spoke to the lord of the Underworld, saying 


that Zeus commanded that Persephone should come forth from 
the Underworld that her mother might look upon her. 

Then Persephone, hearing the words of Zeus that might not 
be gainsaid, uttered the only cry that had left her lips since 
she had sent out that cry that had reached her mother's heart 
And Aidoneus, hearing the command of Zeus that might not 
be denied, bowed his dark, majestic head. 

She might go to the Upperworld and rest herself in the arms 
of her mother, he said. And then he cried out : " Ah, Persephone, 
strive to feel kindliness in your heart toward me who carried 
you off by violence and against your will. I can give to you one 
of the great kingdoms that the Olympians rule over. And I, 
who am brother to Zeus, am no unfitting husband for you, 
Demeter's child/' 

So Aidoneus, the dark lord of the Underworld said, and he 
made ready the iron chariot with its deathless horses that Per- 
sephone might go up from his kingdom. 

Beside the single tree in his domain Aidoneus stayed the 
chariot. A single fruit grew on that tree, a bright pomegranate 
fruit. Persephone stood up in the chariot and plucked the 
fruit from the tree. Then did Aidoneus prevail upon her to 
divide the fruit, and, having divided it, Persephone ate seven 
of the pomegranate seeds. 

It was Hermes who took the whip and the reins of the chariot. 
He drove on, and neither the sea nor the water-courses, nor 
the glens nor the mountain peaks stayed the deathless horses of 


Aidoneus, and soon the chariot was brought near to where 
Demeter awaited the coming of her daughter. 

And when, from a hilltop, Demeter saw the chariot approach- 
ing, she flew like a wild bird to clasp her child. Persephone, 
when she saw her mother's dear eyes, sprang out of the chariot 
and fell upon her neck and embraced her. Long and long 
Demeter held her dear child in her arms, gazing, gazing upon 
her. Suddenly her mind misgave her. With a great fear at 
her heart she cried out: "Dearest, has any food passed your 
lips in all the time you have been in the Underworld? ' : 

She had not tasted food in all the tune she was there, Per- 
sephone said. And then, suddenly, she remembered the pome- 
granate that Aidoneus had asked her to divide. When she told 
that she had eaten seven seeds from it Demeter wept, and her 
tears fell upon Persephone's face. 

"Ah, my dearest," she cried, "if you had not eaten the 
pomegranate seeds you could have stayed with me, and always 
we should have been together. But now that you have eaten 
food in it, the Underworld has a claim upon you. You may 
not stay always with me here. Again you will have to go back 
and dwell in the dark places under the earth and sit upon Aido- 
neus's throne. But not always you will be there. When the 
flowers bloom upon the earth you shall come up from the realm 
of darkness, and in great joy we shall go through the world 
together, Demeter and Persephone." 

And so it has been since Persephone came back to her mother 


after having eaten of the pomegranate seeds. For two seasons 
of the year she stays with Demeter, and for one season she 
stays in the Underworld with her dark lord. While she is 
with her mother there is springtime upon the earth. Demeter 
blesses the furrows, her heart being glad because her daughter 
is with her once more. The furrows become heavy with grain, 
and soon the whole wide earth has grain and fruit, leaves and 
flowers. When the furrows are reaped, when the grain has 
been gathered, when the dark season comes, Persephone goes 
from her mother, and going down into the dark places, she sits 
beside her mighty lord Aidoneus and upon his throne. Not sor- 
rowful is she there; she sits with head unbowed, for she knows 
herself to be a mighty queen. She has joy, too, knowing of 
the seasons when she may walk with Demeter, her mother, on 
the wide places of the earth, through fields of flowers and fruit 
and ripening grain. 

Such was the story that Orpheus told Orpheus who knew 
the histories of the gods. 

A day came when the heroes, on their way back from a journey 
they had made with the Lemnian maidens, called out to Her- 
acles upon the Argo. Then Heracles, standing on the prow of 
the ship, shouted angrily to them. Terrible did he seem to 
the Lemnian maidens, and they ran off, drawing the heroes 
with them. Heracles shouted to his comrades again, saying 
that if they did not come aboard the Argo and make ready 


for the voyage to Colchis, he would go ashore and carry them 
to the ship, and force them again to take the oars in their hands. 
Not all of what Heracles said did the Argonauts hear. 

That evening the men were silent in Hypsipyle's hall, and it 
was Atalanta, the maiden, who told the evening's story. 


There are two Atalantas, she said; she herself, the Huntress, 
and another who is noted for her speed of foot and her delight 
in the race the daughter of Schceneus, King of Bceotia, Ata- 
lanta of the Swift Foot. 

So proud was she of her swiftness that she made a vow to the 
gods that none would be her husband except the youth who 
won past her in the race. Youth after youth came and raced 
against her, but Atalanta, who grew fleeter and fleeter of foot, 
left each one of them far behind her. The youths who came to 
the race were so many and the clamor they made after defeat 
was so great, that her father made a law that, as he thought, 
would lessen their number. The law that he made was that 
the youth who came to race against Atalanta and who lost the 
race should lose his life into the bargain. After that the youths 
who had care for their lives stayed away from Bceotia. 

Once there came a youth from a far part of Greece into the 
country that Atalanta's father ruled over. Hippomenes was 
his name. He did not know of the race, but having come into 


the city and seeing the crowd of people, he went with them to 
the course. He looked upon the youths who were girded for 
the race, and he heard the folk say amongst themselves, "Poor 
youths, as mighty and as high-spirited as they look, by sunset 
the life will be out of each of them, for Atalanta will run past 
them as she ran past the others." Then Hippomenes spoke to 
the folk in wonder, and they told him of Atalanta's race and of 
what would befall the youths who were defeated in it. "Un- 
lucky youths," cried Hippomenes, "how foolish they are to 
try to win a bride at the price of their lives." 

Then, with pity in his heart, he watched the youths prepare 
for the race. Atalanta had not yet taken her place, and he was 
fearful of looking upon her. " She is a witch," he said to himself, 
"she must be a witch to draw so many youths to their deaths, and 
she, no doubt, will show in her face and figure the witch's spirit." 

But even as he said this, Hippomenes saw Atalanta. She 
stood with the youths before they crouched for the first dart 
in the race. He saw that she was a girl of a light and a lovely 
form. Then they crouched for the race; then the trumpets 
rang out, and the youths and the maiden darted like swallows 
over the sand of the course. 

On came Atalanta, far, far ahead of the youths who had 
started with her. Over her bare shoulders her hair streamed, 
blown backward by the wind that met her flight. Her fair 
neck shone, and her little feet were like flying doves. It seemed 
to Hippomenes as he watched her that there was fire in her 


lovely body. On and on she went as swift as the arrow that the 
Scythian shoots from his bow. And as he watched the race 
he was not sorry that the youths were being left behind. Rather 
would he have been enraged if one came near overtaking her, 
for now his heart was set upon winning her for his bride, and 
he cursed himself for not having entered the race. 

She passed the last goal mark and she was given the victor's 
wreath of flowers. Hippomenes stood and watched her and he 
did not see the youths who had started with her they had 
thrown themselves on the ground in their despair. 

Then wild, as though he were one of the doomed youths, 
Hippomenes made his way through the throng and came before 
the black-bearded King of Bceotia. The king's brows were 
knit, for even then he was pronouncing doom upon the youths 
who had been left behind in the race. He looked upon Hip- 
pomenes, another youth who would make the trial, and the 
frown became heavier upon his face. 

But Hippomenes saw only Atalanta. She came beside her 
father; the wreath was upon her head of gold, and her eyes 
were wide and tender. She turned her face to him, and then 
she knew by the wildness that was in his look that he had 
come to enter the race with her. Then the flush that was on 
her face died away, and she shook her head as if she were im- 
ploring him to go from that place. 

The dark-bearded king bent his brows upon him and said, 
"Speak, O youth, speak and tell us what brings you here." 


Then cried Hippomenes as if his whole life were bursting out 
with his words: "Why does this maiden, your daughter ; seek 
an easy renown by conquering weakly youths in the race? 
She has not striven yet. Here stand I, one of the blood of 
Poseidon, the god of the sea. Should I be defeated by her 
in the race, then, indeed, might Atalanta have something to 
boast of." 

Atalanta stepped forward and said: "Do not speak of it, 
youth. Indeed I think that it is some god, envious of your 
beauty and your strength, who sent you here to strive with 
me and to meet your doom. Ah, think of the youths who have 
striven with me even now! Think of the hard doom that is 
about to fall upon them! You venture your life in the race, 
but indeed I am not worthy of the price. Go hence, O stranger 
youth, go hence and live happily, for indeed I think that there 
is some maiden who loves you well." 

"Nay, maiden," said Hippomenes, "I will enter the race and 
I will venture my life on the chance of winning you for my 
bride. What good will my life and my spirit be to me if they 
cannot win this race for me? j: 

She drew away from him then and looked upon him no more, 
but bent down to fasten the sandals upon her feet. And the 
black-bearded king looked upon Hippomenes and said, "Face, 
then, this race to-morrow. You will be the only one who will 
enter it. But bethink thee of the doom that awaits thee at the 
end of it." The king said no more, and Hippomenes went 


from him and from Atalanta, and he came again to the place 
where the race had been run. 

He looked across the sandy course with its goal marks, and 
in his mind he saw again Atalanta's swift race. He would not 
meet doom at the hands of the king's soldiers, he knew, for his 
spirit would leave him with the greatness of the effort he would 
make to reach the goal before her. And he thought it would 
be well to die in that effort and on that sandy place that was 
so far from his own land. 

Even as he looked across the sandy course now deserted by 
the throng, he saw one move across it, coming toward him with 
feet that did not seem to touch the ground. She was a woman 
of wonderful presence. As Hippomenes looked upon her he 
knew that she was Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and of love. 

"Hippomenes/' said the immortal goddess, "the gods are 
mindful of you who are sprung from one of the gods, and I 
am mindful of you because of your own worth. I have come 
to help you in your race with Atalanta, for I would not have 
you slain, nor would I have that maiden go unwed. Give your 
greatest strength and your greatest swiftness to the race, and 
behold! here are wonders that will prevent the fleet-footed 
Atalanta from putting all her spirit into the race." 

And then the immortal goddess held out to Hippomenes 
a branch that had upon it three apples of shining gold. 

"In Cyprus," said the goddess, "where I have come from, 
there is a tree on which these golden apples grow. Only I 


may pluck them. I have brought them to you, Hippomenes. 
Keep them in your girdle, and in the race you will find out 
what to do with them, I think." 

So Aphrodite said, and then she vanished, leaving a fragrance 
in the air and the three shining apples in the hands of Hip- 
pomenes. Long he looked upon their brightness. They were 
beside him that night, and when he arose in the dawn he put 
them in his girdle. Then, before the throng, he went to the 
place of the race. 

When he showed himself beside Atalanta all around the 
course were silent, for they all admired Hippomenes for his 
beauty and for the spirit that was in his face; they were silent 
out of compassion, for they knew the doom that befell the 
youths who raced with Atalanta. 

And now Schceneus, the black-bearded king, stood up, and 
he spoke to the throng, saying, "Hear me all, both young and 
old: this youth, Hippomenes, seeks to win the race from my 
daughter, winning her for his bride. Now, if he be victorious 
and escape death I will give him my dear child, Atalanta, and 
many fleet horses besides as gifts from me, and in honor he 
shall go back to his native land. But if he fail in the race, 
then he will have to share the doom that has been meted out 
to the other youths who raced with Atalanta hoping to win 
her for a bride." 

Then Hippomenes and Atalanta crouched for the start. 
v The trumpets were sounded and they darted off. 


Side by side with Atalanta Hippomenes went. Her flying 
hair touched his breast, and it seemed to him that they were 
skimming the sandy course as if they were swallows. But 
then Atalanta began to draw away from him. He saw her 
ahead of him, and then he began to hear the words of cheer 
that came from the throng "Bend to the race, Hippomenes! 
Go on, go on! Use your strength to the utmost." He bent 
himself to the race, but further and further from him Atalanta 

Then it seemed to him that she checked her swiftness a little 
to look back at him. He gained on her a little. And then his 
hand touched the apples that were in his girdle. As it touched 
them it came into his mind what to do with the apples. 

He was not far from her now, but already her swiftness was 
drawing her further and further away. He took one of the 
apples into his hand and tossed it into the air so that it fell 
on the track before her. 

Atalanta saw the shining apple. She checked her speed and 
stooped in the race to pick it up. And as she stooped Hip- 
pomenes darted past her, and went flying toward the goal that 
now was within his sight. 

But soon she was beside him again. He looked, and he saw 
that the goal marks were far, far ahead of him. Atalanta with 
the flying hair passed him, and drew away and away from him. 
He had not speed to gain upon her now, he thought, so he put 
his strength into his hand and he flung the second of the shin- 


ing apples. The apple rolled before her and rolled off the 
course. Atalanta turned off the course, stooped and picked up 
the apple. 

Then did Hippomenes draw all his spirit into his breast as he 
raced on. He was now nearer to the goal than she was. But 
he knew that she was behind him, going lightly where he went 
heavily. And then she was beside him, and then she went 
past him. She paused in her speed for a moment and she 
looked back on him. 

As he raced on, his chest seemed weighted down and his 
throat was crackling dry. The goal marks were far away 
still, but Atalanta was nearing them- He took the last of the 
golden apples into his hand. Perhaps she was now so far that 
the strength of his throw would not be great enough to bring 
the apple before her. 

But with all the strength he could put into his hand he flung 
the apple. It struck the course before her feet and then went 
bounding wide. Atalanta swerved in her race and followed 
where the apple went. Hippomenes marveled that he had been 
able to fling it so far. He saw Atalanta stoop to pick up the 
apple, and he bounded on. And then, although his strength 
was failing, he saw the goal marks near him. He set his feet 
between them and then fell down on the ground. 

The attendants raised him up and put the victor's wreath 
upon his head. The concourse of people shouted with joy to 
see him victor. But he looked around for Atalanta and he 



saw her standing there with the golden apples in her hands. 
"He has won/' he heard her say, "and I have not to hate 
myself for bringing a doom upon him. Gladly, gladly do I 
give up the race, and glad am I that it is this youth who has 
won the victory from me." 

She took his hand and brought him before the king. Then 
Schceneus, in the sight of all the rejoicing people, gave Atalanta 
to Hippomenes for his bride, and he bestowed upon him also 
a great gift of horses. With his dear and hard-won bride, 
Hippomenes went to his own country, and the apples that she 
brought with her, the golden apples of Aphrodite, were rever- 
enced by the people. 


DAY came when Heracles left the Argo 
and went on the Lemnian land. He 
gathered the heroes about him, and 
they, seeing Heracles come amongst them, 
clamored to go to hunt the wild bulls 
that were inland from the sea. 

So, for once, the heroes left the Lem- 
nian maidens who were their friends. Jason, too, left Hyp- 
sipyle in the palace and went with Heracles. And as they 
went, Heracles spoke to each of the heroes, saying that they 
were forgetting the Fleece of Gold that they had sailed to gain. 


Jason blushed to think that he had almost let go out of his 
mind the quest that had brought him from lolcus. And then 
he thought upon Hypsipyle and of how her little hand would 
stay in his, and his own hand became loose upon the spear 
so that it nearly fell from him. How could he, he thought, 
leave Hypsipyle and this land of Lemnos behind? 

He heard the clear voice of Atalanta as she, too, spoke to 
the Argonauts. What Heracles said was brave and wise, said 
Atalanta. Forgetfulness would cover their names if they stayed 
longer in Lemnos - - forgetfulness and shame, and they would 
come to despise themselves. Leave Lemnos, she cried, and 
draw Argo into the sea, and depart for Colchis. 

All day the Argonauts stayed by themselves, hunting the 
bulls. On their way back from the chase they were met by 
Lemnian maidens who carried wreaths of flowers for them. 
Very silent were the heroes as the maidens greeted them. Her- 
acles went with Jason to the palace, and Hypsipyle, seeing 
the mighty stranger coming, seated herself, not on the couch 
where she was wont to sit looking into the face of Jason, but 
on the stone throne of King Thoas, her father. And seated on 
that throne she spoke to Jason and to Heracles as a queen 
might speak. 

In the hall that night the heroes and the Lemnian maidens 
who were with them were quiet. A story was told; Castor 
began it and Polydeuces ended it. And the story that Helen's 
brothers told was: 



Epimetheus the Titan had a brother who was the wisest of 
all beings - - Prometheus called the Foreseer. But Epimetheus 
himself was slow-witted and scatter-brained. His wise brother 
once sent him a message bidding him beware of the gifts that 
Zeus might send him. Epimetheus heard, but he did not heed 
the warning, and thereby he brought upon the race of men 
troubles and cares. 

Prometheus, the wise Titan, had saved men from a great 
trouble that Zeus would have brought upon them. Also he 
had given them the gift of fire. Zeus was the more wroth with 
men now because fire, stolen from him, had been given them; 
he was wroth with the race of Titans, too, and he pondered in 
his heart how he might injure men, and how he might use 
Epimetheus, the mindless Titan, to further his plan. 

While he pondered there was a hush on high Olympus, the 
mountain of the gods. Then Zeus called upon the artisan of 
the gods, lame Hephaestus, and he commanded him to make 
a being out of clay that would have the likeness of a lovely 
maiden. With joy and pride Hephaestus worked at the task 
that had been given him, and he fashioned a being that had the 
likeness of a lovely maiden, and he brought the thing of his 
making before the gods and the goddesses. 

All strove to add a grace or a beauty to the w r ork of He- 
phaestus. Zeus granted that the maiden should see and feel. 


Athene dressed her in garments that were as lovely as flowers. 
Aphrodite, the goddess of love, put a charm on her lips and 
in her eyes. The Graces put necklaces around her neck and 
set a golden crown upon her head. The Hours brought her a 
girdle of spring flowers. Then the herald of the gods gave her 
speech that was sweet and flowing. All the gods and goddesses 
had given gifts to her, and for that reason the maiden of He- 
phaestus's making was called Pandora, the All-endowed. 

She was lovely, the gods knew; not beautiful as they them- 
selves are, who have a beauty that awakens reverence rather 
than love, but lovely, as flowers and bright waters and earthly 
maidens are lovely. Zeus smiled to himself when he looked 
upon her, and he called to Hermes who knew all the ways of 
the earth, and he put her into the charge of Hermes. Also he 
gave Hermes a great jar to take along; this jar was Pandora's 

Epimetheus lived in a deep-down valley. Now one day, as 
he was sitting on a fallen pillar in the ruined place that was 
now forsaken by the rest of the Titans, he saw a pair coming 
toward him. One had wings, and he knew him to be Hermes, 
the messenger of the gods. The other was a maiden. Epi- 
metheus marveled at the crown upon her head and at her lovely 
garments. There was a glint of gold all around her. He rose 
from where he sat upon the broken pillar and he stood to watch 
the pair. Hermes, he saw, was carrying by its handle a great jar. 


In wonder and delight he looked upon the maiden. Epime- 
theus had seen no lovely thing for ages. Wonderful indeed was 
this Golden Maid, and as she came nearer the charm that was 
on her lips and in her eyes came to the Earth-born One, and 
he smiled with more and more delight. 

Hermes came and stood before him. He also smiled, but his 
smile had something baleful in it. He put the hands of the 
Golden Maid into the great soft hand of the Titan, and he 
said, "0 Epimetheus, Father Zeus would be reconciled with 
thee, and as a sign of his good will he sends thee this lovely 
goddess to be thy companion." 

Oh, very foolish was Epimetheus the Earth-born One! As 
he looked upon the Golden Maid who was sent by Zeus he lost 
memory of the wars that Zeus had made upon the Titans and 
the Elder Gods; he lost memory of his brother chained by 
Zeus to the rock; he lost memory of the warning that his brother, 
the wisest of all beings, had sent him. He took the hands of 
Pandora, and he thought of nothing at all in all the world 
but her. Very far away seemed the voice of Hermes saying, 
"This jar, too, is from Olympus; it has in it Pandora's dower." 

The jar stood forgotten for long, and green plants grew over 
it while Epimetheus walked in the garden with the Golden Maid, 
or watched her while she gazed on herself in the stream, or 
searched in the untended places for the fruits that the Elder 
Gods would eat, when the}' feasted with the Titans in the old 
days, before Zeus had come to his power. And lost to Epime- 


theus was the memory of his brother now suffering upon the 
rock because of the gift he had given to men. 

And Pandora, knowing nothing except the brightness of the 
sunshine and the lovely shapes and colors of things and the 
sweet taste of the fruits that Epimetheus brought to her, could 
have stayed forever in that garden. 

But every day Epimetheus would think that the men and 
women of the world should be able to talk to him about this 
maiden with the wonderful radiance of gold, and with the 
lovely garments, and the marvelous crown. And one day he 
took Pandora by the hand, and he brought her out of that 
deep-lying valley, and toward the homes of men. He did 
not forget the jar that Hermes had left with her. All things 
that belonged to the Golden Maid were precious, and Epi- 
metheus took the jar along. 

The race of men at the time were simple and content. Their 
days were passed in toil, but now, since Prometheus had given 
them fire, they had good fruits of their toil. They had well- 
shaped tools to dig the earth and to build houses. Their homes 
were warmed with fire, and fire burned upon the altars that were 
upon their ways. 

Greatly they reverenced Prometheus ; who had given them 
fire, and greatly they reverenced the race of the Titans. So 
when Epimetheus came amongst them, tall as a man walking 
with stilts, they welcomed him and brought him and the Golden 


Maid to their hearths. And Epimetheus showed Pandora the 
wonderful element that his brother had given to men, and she 
rejoiced to see the fire, clapping her hands with delight. The 
jar that Epimetheus brought he left in an open place. 

In carrying it up the rough ways out of the valley Epime- 
theus may have knocked the jar about, for the lid that had 
been tight upon it now fitted very loosely. But no one gave 
heed to the jar as it stood in the open space where Epimetheus 
had left it. 

At first the men and women looked upon the beauty of Pan- 
dora, upon her lovely dresses, and her golden crown and her 
girdle of flowers, with wonder and delight. Epimetheus would 
have every one admire and praise her. The men would leave 
off working in the fields, or hammering on iron, or building 
houses, and the women would leave off spinning or weaving, 
and come at his call, and stand about and admire the Golden 
Maid. But as time went by a change came upon the women: 
one woman would weep, and another would look angry, and 
a third would go back sullenly to her work when Pandora was 
admired or praised. 

Once the women were gathered together, and one who was 
the wisest amongst them said: "Once we did not think about 
ourselves, and we were content. But now we think about our- 
selves, and we say to ourselves that we are harsh and ill-favored 
indeed compared to the Golden Maid that the Titan is so en- 
chanted with. And we hate to see our own men praise and 


admire her, and often, in our hearts, we would destroy her if we 

"That is true," the women said. And then a young woman 
cried out in a most yearnful voice, "O tell us, you who are 
wise, how can we make ourselves as beautiful as Pandora !' : 

Then said that woman who was thought to be wise, "This 
Golden Maid is lovely to look upon because she has lovely 
apparel and all the means of keeping herself lovely. The gods 
have given her the ways, and so her skin remains fair, and her 
hair keeps its gold, and her lips are ever red and her eyes shining. 
And I think that the means that she has of keeping lovely are 
all in that jar that Epimetheus brought with her." 

When the woman who was thought to be wise said this, 
those around her were silent for a while. But then one arose 
and another arose, and they stood and whispered together, one 
saying to the other that they should go to the place where the 
jar had been left by Epimetheus, and that they should take 
out of it the salves and the charms and the washes that would 
leave them as beautiful as Pandora. 

So the women went to that place. On their way they stopped 
at a pool and they bent over to see themselves mirrored in it, 
and they saw themselves with dusty and unkempt hair, with 
large and knotted hands, with troubled eyes, and with anxious 
mouths. They frowned as they looked upon their images, and 
they said in harsh voices that in a while they would have ways 
of making themselves as lovely as the Golden Maid. 


And as they went on they saw Pandora. She was playing 
in a flowering field, while Epimetheus, high as a man upon stilts, 
went gathering the blossoms of the bushes for her. They went 
on, and they came at last to the place where Epimetheus had 
left the jar that held Pandora's dower. 

A great stone jar it was; there was no bird, nor flower, nor 
branch painted upon it. It stood high as a woman's shoulder. 
And as the women looked on it they thought that there were 
things enough in it to keep them beautiful for all the days of 
their lives. But each one thought that she should not be the 
last to get her hands into it. 

Once the lid had been fixed tightly down on the jar. But 
the lid was shifted a little now. As the hands of the women 
grasped it to take off the lid the jar was cast down, and the 
things that were inside spilled themselves forth. 

They were black and gray and red; they were crawling and 
flying things. And, as the women looked, the things spread 
themselves abroad or fastened themselves upon them. 

The jar, like Pandora herself, had been made and filled out 
of the ill will of Zeus. And it had been filled, not with salves 
and charms and washes, as the women had thought, but with 
Cares and Troubles. Before the women came to it one Trouble 
had already come forth from the jar Self-thought that was 
upon the top of the heap. It was Self -thought that had afflicted 
the women, making them troubled about their own looks, and 
envious of the graces of the Golden Maid. 


And now the others spread themselves out - - Sickness ana 
War and Strife between friends. They spread themselves 
abroad and entered the houses, while Epimetheus, the mindless 
Titan, gathered flowers for Pandora, the Golden Maid. 

Lest she should weary of her play he called to her. He 
would take her into the houses of men. As they drew near to 
the houses they saw a woman seated on the ground, weeping; 
her husband had suddenly become hard to her and had shut 
the door on her face. They came upon a child crying because 
of a pain that he could not understand. And then they found 
two men struggling, their strife being on account of a posses- 
sion that they had both held peaceably before. 

In every house they went to Epimetheus would say, "I am 
the brother of Prometheus, who gave you the gift of fire," But 
instead of giving them a welcome the men would say, "We 
know nothing about your relation to Prometheus. We see you 
as a foolish man upon stilts." 

Epimetheus was troubled by the hard looks and the cold 
words of the men who once had reverenced him. He turned 
from the houses and went away. In a quiet place he sat down, 
and for a while he lost sight of Pandora. And then it seemed 
to him that he heard the voice of his wise and suffering brother 
saying, "Do not accept any gift that Zeus may send you." 

He rose up and he hurried away from that place, leaving 
Pandora playing by herself. There came into his scattered 
mind Regret and Fear. As he went on he stumbled. He fell 


from the edge of a cliff, and the sea washed away the body 
of the mindless brother of Prometheus. 

Not everything had been spilled out of the jar that had been 
brought with Pandora into the world of men. A beautiful, living 
thing was in that jar also. This was Hope. And this beauti- 
ful, living thing had got caught under the run of the jar and 
had not come forth with the others. One day a weeping woman 
found Hope under the rim of Pandora's jar and brought this 
living thing into the house of men. And now because of Hope 
they could see an end to their troubles. And the men and 
women roused themselves in the midst of their afflictions and 
they looked toward gladness. Hope, that had been caught under 
the rim of the jar, stayed behind the thresholds of their houses. 

As for Pandora, the Golden Maid, she played on, knowing 
only the brightness of the sunshine and the lovely shapes of 
things. Beautiful would she have seemed to any being who 
saw her, but now she had strayed away from the houses of 
men and Epimetheus was not there to look upon her. Then 
Hephaestus, the lame artisan of the gods, left down his tools 
and went to seek her. He found Pandora, and he took her 
back to Olympus. And in his brazen house she stays, though 
sometimes at the will of Zeus she goes down into the world 
of men. 

When Polydeuces had ended the story that Castor had begun, 
Heracles cried out: "For the Argonauts, too, there has been 


a Golden Maid - - nay, not one, but a Golden Maid for each. 
Out of the jar that has been with her ye have taken forget- 
fulness of your honor. As for me, I go back to the Argo lest 
one of these Golden Maids should hold me back from the labors 
that make great a man." 

So Heracles said, and he went from Hypsipyle's hall. The 
heroes looked at each other, and they stood up, and shame 
that they had stayed so long away from the quest came over 
each of them. The maidens took their hands; the heroes 
unloosed those soft hands and turned away from them. 

Hypsipyle left the throne of King Thoas and stood before 
Jason. There was a storm in all her body; her mouth was 
shaken, and a whole life's trouble was in her great eyes. Before 
she spoke Jason cried out: "What Heracles said is true, O 
Argonauts! On the Quest of the Golden Fleece our lives and 
our honors depend. To Colchis to Colchis must we go! ' 

He stood upright in the hall, and his comrades gathered 
around him. The Lemnian maidens would have held out their 
arms and would have made their partings long delayed, but 
that a strange cry came to them through the night. Well did 
the Argonauts know that cry it was the cry of the ship, of 
Argo herself. They knew that they must go to her now or 
stay from the voyage for ever. And the maidens knew that 
there was something in the cry of the ship that might not be 
gainsaid, and they put their hands before their faces, and they 
said no other word. 


Then said Hypsipyle, the queen, "I, too, am a ruler, Jason, 
and I know that there are great commands that we have to 
obey. Go, then, to the Argo. Ah ; neither I nor the women of 
Lemnos will stay your going now. But to-morrow speak to 
us from the deck of the ship and bid us farewell. Do not go 
from us in the night, Jason." 

Jason and the Argonauts went from Hypsipyle's hall. The 
maidens who were left behind wept together. All but Hyp- 
sipyle. She sat on the throne of King Thoas and she had 
Polyxo, her nurse, tell her of the ways of Jason's voyage as 
he had told of them, and of all that he would have to pass 
through. When the other Lemnian women slept she put her 
head upon her nurse's knees and wept; bitterly Hypsipyle wept, 
but softly, for she would not have the others hear her weeping. 

By the coming of the morning's light the Argonauts had 
made all ready for their sailing. They were standing on the 
deck when the light came, and they saw the Lemnian women 
come to the shore. Each looked at her friend aboard the 
Argo, and spoke, and went away. And last, Hypsipyle, the 
queen, came. "Farewell, Hypsipyle," Jason said to her, and 
she, in her strange way of speaking, said: 

"What you told us I have remembered how you will 
come to the dangerous passage that leads into the Sea of 
Pontus, and how by the flight of a pigeon you will know 
whether or not you may go that way. O Jason, let the 


dove you fly when you come to that dangerous place be 

She showed a pigeon held in her hands. She loosed it, and 
the pigeon alighted on the ship, and stayed there on pink feet, 
a white-feathered pigeon. Jason took up the pigeon and held 
it in his hands, and the Argo drew swiftly away from the Lem- 
nian land. 


HEY came near Salmydessus, where 
Phineus, the wise king, ruled, and they 
sailed past it; they sighted the pile of 
stones, with the oar upright upon it 
that they had raised on the seashore 
over the body of Tiphys, the skillful 
steersman whom they had lost; they 
sailed on until they heard a sound that grew more and more 
thunderous, and then the heroes said to each other, "Now 
we come to the Symplegades and the dread passage into the 
Sea of Pontus." 

It was then that Jason cried out: "Ah, when Pelias spoke 
of this quest to me, why did I not turn my head away and 
refuse to be drawn into it? Since we came near the dread 
passage that is before us I have passed every night in groans. 
,As for you who have come with me, you may take your ease, 


for you need care only for your own lives. But I have to care 
for you all, and to strive to win for you all a safe return to 
Greece. Ah, greatly am I afflicted now, knowing to what a great 
peril I have brought you!' : 

So Jason said, thinking to make trial of the heroes. They, 
on their part, were not dismayed, but shouted back cheerful 
words to him. Then he said: "0 friends of mine, by your 
spirit my spirit is quickened. Now if I knew that I was being 
borne down into the black gulfs of Hades, I should fear noth- 
ing, knowing that you are constant and faithful of heart/' 

As he said this they came into water that seethed all around 
the ship. Then into the hands of Euphemus, a youth of lolcus, 
who was the keenest-eyed amongst the Argonauts, Jason put 
the pigeon that Hypsipyle had given him. He bade him stand 
by the prow of the Argo, ready to loose the pigeon as the ship 
came nigh that dreadful gate of rock. 

They saw the spray being dashed around in showers; they 
saw the sea spread itself out in foam; they saw the high, black 
rocks rush together, sounding thunderously as they met. The 
caves in the high rocks rumbled as the sea surged into them, 
and the foam of the dashing waves spurted high up the rocks. 

Jason shouted to each man to grip hard on the oars. The 
Argo dashed on as the rocks rushed toward each other again. 
Then there was such noise that no man's voice could be heard 
above it. 

As the rocks met, Euphemus loosed the pigeon. With his 


keen eyes he watched her fly through the spray. Would she, 
not finding an opening to fly through, turn back? He watched, 
and meanwhile the Argonauts gripped hard on the oars to 
save the ship from being dashed on the rocks. The pigeon 
fluttered as though she would sink down and let the spray 
drown her. And then Euphemus saw her raise herself and fly 
forward. Toward the place where she had flown he pointed. 
The rowers gave a loud cry, and Jason called upon them to 
pull with might and main. 

The rocks were parting asunder, and to the right and left 
broad Pontus was seen by the heroes. Then suddenly a huge 
wave rose before them, and at the sight of it they all uttered 
a cry and bent their heads. It seemed to them that it would 
dash down on the whole ship's length and overwhelm them all. 
But Nauplius was quick to ease the ship, and the wave rolled 
away beneath the keel, and at the stern it raised the Argo 
and dashed her away from the rocks. 

They felt the sun as it streamed upon them through the sun- 
dered rocks. They strained at the oars until the oars bent like 
bows in their hands. The ship sprang forward. Surely they 
were now in the wide Sea of Pontus! 

The Argonauts shouted. They saw the rocks behind them 
with the sea fowl screaming upon them. Surely they were in 
the Sea of Pontus - - the sea that had never been entered be- 
fore through the Rocks Wandering. The rocks no longer dashed 
together; each remained fixed in its place, for it was the will of 


the gods that these rocks should no more clash together after 
a mortal's ship had passed between them. 

They were now in the Sea of Pontus, the sea into which flowed 
the river that Colchis was upon the River Phasis. And now 
above Jason's head the bird of peaceful days, the Halcyon, 
fluttered, and the Argonauts knew that this was a sign from 
the gods that the voyage would not any more be troublous. 


HEY rested in the harbor of Thynias, 
the desert island, and sailing from there 
they came to the land of the Marian- 
dyni, a people who were constantly at 
war with the Bebrycians; there the hero 
Polydeuces was welcomed as a god. 
Twelve days afterward they passed the 
mouth of the River Callichorus; then they came to the mouth 
of that river that flows through the land of the Amazons, the 
River Thermodon. Fourteen days from that place brought 
them to the island that is filled with the birds of Ares, the god 
of war. These birds dropped upon the heroes heavy, pointed 
feathers that would have pierced them as arrows if they had 
not covered themselves with their shields; then by shouting, 
and by striking their shields with their spears, they raised such 
a clamor as drove the birds away. 


They sailed on, borne by a gentle breeze, until a gulf of the 
sea opened before them, and lo! a mountain that they knew 
bore some mighty name. Orpheus, looking on its peak and its 
crags, said, "Lo, now! We, the Argonauts, are looking upon 
the mountain that is named Caucasus!' 1 

When he declared the name the heroes all stood up and 
looked on the mountain with awe. And in awe they cried out 
a name, and that name was "Prometheus!'' 

For upon that mountain the Titan god was held, his limbs 
bound upon the hard rocks by fetters of bronze. Even as the 
Argonauts looked toward the mountain a great shadow fell 
upon their ship, and looking up they saw a monstrous bird 
flying. The beat of the bird's wings filled out the sail and 
drove the Argo swiftly onward. "It is the bird sent by Zeus," 
Orpheus said. "It is the vulture that every day devours the 
liver of the Titan god." They cowered down on the ship as 
they heard that word all the Argonauts save Heracles; he 
stood upright and looked out toward where the bird was flying. 
Then, as the bird came near to the mountain, the Argonauts 
heard a great cry of anguish go up from the rocks. 

"It is Prometheus crying out as the bird of Zeus flies down 
upon him," they said to one another. Again they cowered 
down on the ship, all save Heracles, who stayed looking toward 
where the great vulture had flown. 

The night came and the Argonauts sailed on in silence, think- 
ing in awe of the Titan god and of the doom that Zeus had 


inflicted upon him. Then, as they sailed on under the stars, 
Orpheus told them of Prometheus, of his gift to men, and of 
the fearful punishment that had been meted out to him by Zeus. 


The gods more than once made a race of men: the first was 
a Golden Race. Very close to the gods who dwell on Olympus 
was this Golden Race; they lived justly although there were nc 
laws to compel them. In the time of the Golden Race the earth 
knew only one season, and that season was everlasting Spring. 
The men and women of the Golden Race lived through a span 
of life that was far beyond that of the men and women of our 
day, and when they died it was as though sleep had become 
everlasting with them. They had all good things, and that 
without labor, for the earth without any forcing bestowed fruits 
and crops upon them. They had peace all through their lives, 
this Golden Race, and after they had passed away their spirits 
remained above the earth, inspiring the men of the race that 
came after them to do great and gracious things and to act justly 
and kindly to one another. 

After the Golden Race had passed away, the gods made for 
the earth a second race a Silver Race. Less noble in spirit 
and in body was this Silver Race, and the seasons that visited 
them were less gracious. In the time of the Silver Race the 
gods made the seasons Summer and Spring, and Autumn 


and Winter. They knew parching heat, and the bitter winds 
of winter, and snow and rain and hail. It was the men of the 
Silver Race who first built houses for shelter. They lived through 
a span of life that was longer than our span, but it was not 
long enough to give wisdom to them. Children were brought 
up at their mothers' sides for a hundred years, playing at child- 
ish things. And when they came to years beyond a hundred 
they quarreled with one another, and wronged one another, 
and did not know enough to give reverence to the immortal 
gods. Then, by the will of Zeus, the Silver Race passed away 
as the Golden Race had passed away. Their spirits stay in the 
Underworld, and they are called by men the blessed spirits of 
the Underworld. 

And then there was made the third race the Race of Bronze. 
They were a race great of stature, terrible and strong. Their 
armor was of bronze, their swords were of bronze, their imple- 
ments were of bronze, and of bronze, too, they made their 
houses. No great span of life was theirs, for with the weapons 
that they took in their terrible hands they slew one another. 
Thus they passed away, and went down under the earth to 
Hades, leaving no name that men might know them by. 

Then the gods created a fourth race our own : a Race of 
Iron. We have not the justice that was amongst the men of 
the Golden Race, nor the simpleness that was amongst the men 
of the Silver Race, nor the stature nor the great strength that 
the men of the Bronze Race possessed. We are of iron that we 


may endure. It is our doom that we must never cease from 
labor and that we must very quickly grow old. 

But miserable as we are to-day, there was a time when the 
lot of men was more miserable. With poor implements they 
had to labor on a hard ground. There was less justice and 
kindliness amongst men in those days than there is now. 

Once it came into the mind of Zeus that he would destroy 
the fourth race and leave the earth to the nymphs and the 
satyrs. He would destroy it by a great flood. But Prome- 
theus, the Titan god who had given aid to Zeus against the 
other Titans Prometheus, who was called the Foreseer 
could not consent to the race of men being destroyed utterly, 
and he considered a way of saving some of them. To a man 
and a woman, Deucalion and Pyrrha, just and gentle people, 
he brought word of the plan of Zeus, and he showed them how 
to make a ship that would bear them through what was about 
to be sent upon the earth. 

Then Zeus shut up in their cave all the winds but the wind 
that brings rain and clouds. He bade this wind, the South 
Wind, sweep over the earth, flooding it with rain. He called 
upon Poseidon and bade him to let the sea pour in upon the 
land. And Poseidon commanded the rivers to put forth all 
their strength, and sweep dykes away, and overflow their banks. 

The clouds and the sea and the rivers poured upon the 
earth. The flood rose higher and higher, and in the places where 
the pretty lambs had played the ugly sea calves now gam- 


boiled; men in their boats drew fishes out of the tops of elm 
trees, and the water nymphs were amazed to come on men's 
cities under the waves. 

Soon even the men and women who had boats were over- 
whelmed by the rise of water - - all perished then except 
Deucalion and Pyrrha, his wife; them the waves had not over- 
whelmed, for they were in a ship that Prometheus had shown 
them how to build. The flood went down at last, and Deucalion 
and Pyrrha climbed up to a high and a dry ground. Zeus saw 
that two of the race of men had been left alive. But he saw 
that these two were just and kindly, and had a right rever- 
ence for the gods. He spared them, and he saw their children 
again peopling the earth. 

Prometheus, who had saved them, looked on the men and 
women of the earth with compassion. Their labor was hard, 
and they wrought much to gain little. They were chilled at 
night in their houses, and the winds that blew in the daytime 
made the old men and women bend double like a wheel. Pro- 
metheus thought to himself that if men and women had the ele- 
ment that only the gods knew of the element of fire they 
could make for themselves implements for labor; they could 
build houses that would keep out the chilling winds, and they 
could warm themselves at the blaze. 

But the gods had not willed thai, men should have fire, 
and to go against the will of the gods would be impious. Prome- 
theus went against the will of the gods. He stole fire from the 


altar of Zeus, and he hid it in a hollow fennel stalk, and he 
brought it to men. 

Then men were able to hammer iron into tools, and cut down 
forests with axes, and sow grain where the forests had been. 
Then were they able to make houses that the storms could 
not overthrow, and they were able to warm themselves at hearth 
fires. They had rest from their labor at times. They built 
cities; they became beings who no longer had heads and backs 
bent but were able to raise their faces even to the gods. 

And Zeus spared the race of men who had now the sacred 
element of fire. But he knew that Prometheus had stolen this 
fire even from his own altar and had given it to men. And he 
thought on how he might punish the great Titan god for his 

He brought back from the Underworld the giants that he 
had put there to guard the Titans that had been hurled down to 
Tartarus. He brought back Gyes, Cottus, and Briareus, and 
he commanded them to lay hands upon Prometheus and to fasten 
him with fetters to the highest, blackest crag upon Caucasus. 
And Briareus, Cottus, and Gyes seized upon the Titan god, 
and carried him to Caucasus, and fettered him with fetters of 
bronze to the highest, blackest crag with fetters of bronze 
that may not be broken. There they have left the Titan 
stretched, under the sky, with the cold winds blowing upon 
him, and with the sun streaming down on him. And that his 
punishment might exceed all other punishments Zeus had sent 


a vulture to prey upon him a vulture that tears at his liver 
each day. 

And yet Prometheus does not cry out that he has repented 
of his gift to man; although the winds blow upon him, and the 
sun streams upon him, and the vulture tears at his liver, Prome- 
theus will not cry out his repentance to heaven. And Zeus 
may not utterly destroy him. For Prometheus the Foreseer 
knows a secret that Zeus would fain have him disclose. He 
knows that even as Zeus overthrew his father and made him- 
self the ruler in his stead, so, too, another will overthrow Zeus. 
And one day Zeus will have to have the fetters broken from 
around the limbs of Prometheus, and will have to bring from 
the rock and the vulture, and into the Council of the Olympians, 
the unyielding Titan god. 

When the light of the morning came the Argo was very near 
to the Mountain Caucasus. The voyagers looked in awe upon 
its black crags. They saw the great vulture circling over a 
high rock, and from beneath where the vulture circled they 
heard a weary cry. Then Heracles, who all night had stood 
by the mast, cried out to the Argonauts to bring the ship near 
to a landing place. 

But Jason would not have them go near; fear of the wrath 
of Zeus was strong upon him; rather, he bade the Argonauts 
put all their strength hi to their rowing, and draw far off from 
that forbidden mountain. Heracles, not heeding what Jason 


ordered, declared that it was his purpose to make his way up 
to the black crag, and, with his shield and his sword in his 
hands, slay the vulture that preyed upon the liver of Prometheus. 

Then Orpheus in a clear voice spoke to the Argonauts. 
"Surely some spirit possesses Heracles," he said. "Despite 
all we do or say he will make his way to where Prometheus 
is fettered to the rock. Do not gainsay him in this! Remember 
what Nereus, the ancient one of the sea, declared! Did Nereus 
not say that a great labor awaited Heracles, and that in the 
doing of it he should work out the will of Zeus? Stay him not! 
How just it would be if he who is the son of Zeus freed from 
his torments the much-enduring Titan god!' 1 

So Orpheus said in his clear, commanding voice. They drew 
near to the Mountain Caucasus. Then Heracles, gripping the 
sword and shield that were the gifts of the gods, sprang out on 
the landing place. The Argonauts shouted farewell to him. 
But he, filled as he was with an overmastering spirit, did not 
heed their words. 

A strong breeze drove them onward; darkness came down, 
and the Argo went on through the night. With the morning 
light those who were sleeping were awakened by the cry of 
Nauplius "Lo! The Phasis, and the utmost bourne of the 
sea!" They sprang up, and looked with many strange feelings 
upon the broad river they had come to. 

Here was the Phasis emptying itself into the Sea of Pontus! 
Up that river was Colchis and the city of King ^Eetes, the 


end of their voyage, the place where was kept the Golden 
Fleece! Quickly they let down the sail; they lowered the mast 
and they laid it along the deck; strongly they grasped the oars; 
they swung the Argo around, and they entered the broad stream 
of the Phasis. 

Up the river they went with the Mountain Caucasus on 
their left hand, and on their right the groves and gardens of 
Aea, King ^Eetes's city. As they went up the stream, Jason 
poured from a golden cup an offering to the gods. And to the 
dead heroes of that country the Argonauts prayed for good 
fortune to their enterprise. 

It was Jason's counsel that they should not at once appear 
before King ^Eetes, but visit him after they had seen the 
strength of his city. They drew their ship into a shaded back- 
water, and there they stayed while day grew and faded around 

Night came, and the heroes slept upon the deck of Argo. 
Many things came back to them in their dreams or through 
their half -sleep : they thought of the Lemnian maidens they had 
parted from; of the Clashing Rocks they had passed between; 
of the look in the eyes of Heracles as he raised his face to the 
high, black peak of Caucasus. They slept, and they thought 
they saw before them THE GOLDEN FLEECE; darkness sur- 
rounded it; it seemed to the dreaming Argonauts that the 
darkness was the magic power that King ^Eetes possessed. 



HEY had come into a country that was 
the strangest of all countries, and 
amongst a people that were the strang- 
est of all peoples. They were in the 
land, this people said, before the moon 
had come into the sky. And it is true 
that when the great king of Egypt had 
come so far, finding in all other places men living on the high 
hills and eating the acorns that grew on the oaks there, he found 
in Colchis the city of Aea with a wall around it and with pillars 
on which writings were graven. That was when Egypt was 
called the Morning Land. 

And many of the magicians of Egypt who had come with 
King Sesostris stayed in that city of Aea, and they taught 
people spells that could stay the moon in her going and coming, 
in her rising and setting. Priests of the Moon ruled the city 
of Aea until King ^Eetes came. 

^Eetes had no need of their magic, for Helios, the bright 
Sun, was his father, as he thought. Also, Hephaestus, the artisan 
of the gods, was his friend, and Hephaestus made for him 



many wonderful things to be his protection. Medea, too, his 
wise daughter, knew the secrets taught by those who could 
sway the moon. 

But .^etes once was made afraid by a dream that he had: 
he dreamt that a ship had come up the Phasis, and then, sail- 
ing on a mist, had rammed his palace that was standing there 
in all its strength and beauty until it had fallen down. On the 
morning of the night that he had had this dream ^Eetes called 
Medea, his wise daughter, and he bade her go to the temple 
of Hecate, the Moon, and search out spells that might destroy 
those who came against his city. 

That morning the Argonauts, who had passed the night in 
the backwater of the river, had two youths come to them. They 
were in a broken ship, and they had one oar only. When 
Jason, after giving them food and fresh garments, questioned 
them, he found out that these youths were of ; the city of Aea, 
and that they were none others than the sons of Phrixus of 
Phrixus who had come there with the Golden Ram. 

And the youths, Phrontis and Melas, were as amazed as was 
Jason when they found out whose ship they had come aboard. 
For Jason was the grandson of Cretheus, and Cretheus was the 
brother of Athamas, their grandfather. They had ventured 
from Aea, where they had been reared, thinking to reach the 
country of Athamas and lay claim to his possessions. But they 
had been wrecked at a place not far from the mouth of the 


Phasis, and with great pain and struggle they had made their 
way back. 

They were fearful of Aea and of their uncle King /Eetes, and 
they would gladly go with Jason and the Argonauts back to 
Greece. They would help Jason, they said, to persuade ^Eetes 
to give the Golden Fleece peaceably to them. Their mother 
was the daughter of vEetes Chalciope, whom the king had 
given in marriage to Phrixus, his guest. 

A council of the Argonauts was held, and it was agreed that 
Jason should go with two comrades to King ^Eetes, Phrontis 
and Melas going also. They were to ask the king to give 
them the Golden Fleece and to offer him a recompense. Jason 
took Peleus and Telamon with him. 

As they came to the city a mist fell, and Jason and his 
comrades with the sons of Phrixus went through the city with- 
out being seen. They came before the palace of King ^Eetes. 
Then Phrontis and Melas were some way behind. The mist 
lifted, and before the heroes was the wonder of the palace in 
the bright light of the morning. 

Vines with broad leaves and heavy clusters of fruit grew 
from column to column, the columns holding a gallery up. 
And under the vines were the four fountains that Hephaestus 
had made for King ^Eetes. They gushed out into golden, silver, 
bronze, and iron basins. And one fountain gushed out clear 
water, and another gushed out milk; another gushed out wine; 
and another oil. On each side of the courtyard were the palace 


buildings; in one King ^Eetes lived with Apsyrtus, his son, and 
in the other Chalciope and Medea lived with their handmaidens. 

Medea was passing from her father's house. The mist lifted 
suddenly and she saw three strangers in the palace courtyard. 
One had a crimson mantle on; his shoulders were such as to 
make him seem a man that a whole world could not overthrow, 
and his eyes had all the sun's light in them. 

Amazed, Medea stood looking upon Jason, wondering at his 
bright hair and gleaming eyes and at the lightness and strength 
of the hand that he had raised. And then a dove flew toward 
her : it was being chased by a hawk, and Medea saw the hawk's 
eyes and beak. As the dove lighted upon her shoulder she threw 
her veil around it, and the hawk dashed itself against a column. 
And as Medea, trembling, leaned against the column she heard 
a cry from her sister, who was within. 

For now Phrontis and Melas had come up, and Chalciope 
who was spinning by the door saw them and cried out. All 
the servants rushed out. Seeing Chalciope's sons there they, 
too, uttered loud cries, and made such commotion that Apsyrtus 
and then King ^Eetes came out of the palace. 

Jason saw King ^Eetes. He was old and white, but he had 
great green eyes, and the strength of a leopard was in all he did. 
And Jason looked upon Apsyrtus too; the son of ^Eetes looked 
like a Phoenician merchant, black of beard and with rings in 
his ears, with a hooked nose and a gleam of copper in his face. 

Phrontis and Melas went from their mother's embrace and 


made reverence to King ^Eetes. Then they spoke of the heroes 
who were with them, of Jason and his two comrades. ^Eetes 
bade all enter the palace; baths were made ready for them, 
and a banquet was prepared. 

After the banquet, when they all sat together, ^Eetes, ad- 
dressing the eldest of Chalciope's sons, said: 

"Sons of Phrixus, of that man whom I honored above all 
men who came to my halls, speak now and tell me how it is 
that you have come back to Aea so soon, and who they are, 
these men who come with you?' : 

yEetes, as he spoke, looked sharply upon Phrontis and Melas, 
for he suspected them of having returned to Aea, bringing these 
armed men with them, with an evil intent. Phrontis looked 
at the King, and said: 

a ^etes, our ship was driven upon the Island of Ares, where 
it was almost broken upon the rocks. That was on a murky 
night, and in the morning the birds of Ares shot their sharp 
feathers upon us. We pulled away from that place, and there- 
after we were driven by the winds back to the mouth of the 
Phasis. There we met with these heroes who were friendly to us. 
Who they are, what they have come to your city for, I shall 
now tell you. 

"A certain king, longing to drive one of these heroes from his 
land, and hoping that the race of Cretheus might perish utterly, 
led him to enter a most perilous adventure. He came here upon 
a ship that was made by the command of Hera, the wife of 


Zeus, a ship more wonderful than mortals ever sailed in before. 
With him there came the mightiest of the heroes of Greece. 
He is Jason, the grandson of Cretheus, and he has come to beg 
that you will grant him freely the famous Fleece of Gold that 
Phrixus brought to Aea. 

"But not without recompense to you would he take the 
Fleece. Already he has heard of your bitter foes, the Sauro- 
matae. He with his comrades would subdue them for you. 
And if you would ask of the names and the lineage of the heroes 
who are with Jason I shall tell you. This is Peleus and this 
is Telamon; they are brothers, and they are sons of ^Eacus, 
who was of the seed of Zeus. And all the other heroes who have 
come with them are of the seed of the gods." 

So Phrontis said, but the King was not placated by what he 
said. He thought that the sons of Chalciope had returned to 
Aea bringing these warriors with them so that they might wrest 
the kingship from him, or, failing that, plunder the city. ^Eetes's 
heart was filled with wrath as he looked upon them, and his 
eyes shone as a leopard's eyes. 

"Begone from my sight," he cried, "robbers that ye are! 
Tricksters! If you had not eaten at my table, assuredly I 
should have had your tongues cut out for speaking falsehoods 
about the blessed gods, saying that this one and that of your 
companions was of their divine race." 

Telamon and Peleus strode forward with angry hearts; they 
would have laid their hands upon King ^Eetes only Jason held 


them back. And then speaking to the king in a quiet voice, 
Jason said: 

"Bear with us, King ^Eetes, I pray you. We have not come 
with such evil intent as you think. Ah, it was the evil com- 
mand of an evil king that sent me forth with these companions 
of mine across dangerous gulfs of the sea, and to face your 
wrath and the armed men you can bring against us. We are 
ready to make great recompense for the friendliness you may 
show to us. We will subdue for you the Sauromatae, or any 
other people that you would lord it over." 

But ^Eetes was not made friendly by Jason's words. His 
heart was divided as to whether he should summon his armed 
men and have them slain upon the spot, or whether he should 
put them into danger by the trial he would make of them. 
At last he thought that it would be better to put them to the 
trial that he had in mind, slaying them afterward if need be. 
And then he spoke to Jason, saying: 

"Strangers to Colchis, it may be true what my nephews have 
said. It may be that ye are truly of the seed of the immortals. 
And it may be that I shall give you the Golden Fleece to bear 
away after I have made trial of you." 

As he spoke Medea, brought there by his messenger so that 
she might observe the strangers, came into the chamber. She 
entered softly and she stood away from her father and the four 
who were speaking with him. Jason looked upon her, and even 
although his mind was filled with the thought of bending King 


/Eetes to his will, he saw what manner of maiden she was, and 
what beauty and what strength was hers. 

She had a dark face that was made very strange by her crown 
of golden hair. Her eyes, like her father's, were wide and full 
of light, and her lips were so full and red that they made her 
mouth like an opening rose. But her brows were always knit 
as if there was some secret anger within her, 

"With brave men I have no quarrel," said ^Eetes. "I will 
make a trial of your bravery, and if your bravery wins through 
the trial, be very sure that you will have the Golden Fleece to 
bring back in triumph to lolcus. 

"But the trial that I would make of you is hard for a great 
hero even. Know that on the plain of Ares yonder I have two 
fire-breathing bulls with feet of brass. These bulls were once 
conquered by me; I yoked them to a plow of adamant, and 
with them I plowed the field of Ares for four plow-gates. 
Then I sowed the furrows, not with the seed that Demeter 
gives, but with teeth of a dragon. And from the dragon's teeth 
that I sowed in the field of Ares armed men sprang up. I slew 
them with my spear as they rose around me to slay me. If you 
can accomplish this that I accomplished in days gone by I shall 
submit to you and give you the Golden Fleece. But if you 
cannot accomplish what I once accomplished you shall go from 
my city empty-handed, for it is not right that a brave man 
should yield aught to one who cannot show himself as 


So JEetes said. Then Jason, utterly confounded, cast his 
eyes upon the ground. He raised them to speak to the king, 
and as he did he found the strange eyes of Medea upon him. 
With all the courage that was in him he spoke: 

"I will dare this contest, monstrous as it is. I will face this 
doom. I have come far, and there is nothing else for me to do 
but to yoke your fire-breathing bulls to the plow of adamant, 
and plow the furrows in the field of Ares, and struggle with 
the Earth-born Men." As he said this he saw the eyes of 
Medea grow wide as with fear- 
Then ^Eetes said, " Go back to your ship and make ready for 
the trial." Jason, with Peleus and Telamon, left the chamber, 
and the king smiled grimly as he saw them go. Phrontis and 
Melas went to where their mother was. But Medea stayed, 
and ^Eetes looked upon her with his great leopard's eyes. "My 
daughter, my wise Medea," he said, "go, put spells upon the 
Moon, that Hecate may weaken that man in his hour of trial." 
Medea turned away from her father's eyes, and went to her 




HE turned away from her father's eyes 
and she went into her own chamber. 
For a long time she stood there with 
her hands clasped together. She heard 
the voice of Chalciope lamenting because 
^Eetes had taken a hatred to her sons 
and might strive to destroy them. She 
heard the voice of her sister lamenting, but Medea thought that 
the cause that her sister had for grieving was small compared 
with the cause that she herself had. 

She thought on the moment when she had seen Jason for the 
first time - - in the courtyard as the mist lifted and the dove 
flew to her; she thought of him as he lifted those bright eyes 
of his; then she thought of his voice as he spoke after her father 
had imposed the dreadful trial upon him. She would have liked 
then to have cried out to him, "O youth, if others rejoice at 
the doom that you go to, I do not rejoice." 

Still her sister lamented. But how great was her own grief 
compared to her sister's! For Chalciope could try to help her 
sons and could lament for the danger they were in and no one 
would blame her. But she might not strive to help Jason nor 
might she lament for the danger he was in. How terrible it 
would be for a maiden to help a stranger against her father's 
design! How terrible it would be for a woman of Colchis to 


help a stranger against the will of the king! How terrible it 
would be for a daughter to plot against King ^Eetes in his own 
palace ! 

And then Medea hated Aea, her city. She hated the furious 
people who came together in the assembly, and she hated the 
brazen bulls that Hephaestus had given her father. And then 
she thought that there was nothing in Aea except the furious 
people and the fire-breathing bulls. O how pitiful it was that 
the strange hero and his friends should have come to such a 
place for the sake of the Golden Fleece that was watched over 
by the sleepless serpent in the grove of Ares! 

Still Chalciope lamented. Would Chalciope come to her and 
ask her, Medea, to help her sons? If she should come she 
might speak of the strangers, too, and of the danger they were in. 
Medea went to her couch and lay down upon it. She longed 
for her sister to come to her or to call to her. 

But Chalciope stayed in her own chamber. Medea, lying upon 
her couch, listened to her sister's laments. At last she went 
near where Chalciope was. Then shame that she should think 
so much about the stranger came over her. She stood there 
without moving; she turned to go back to the couch, and then 
trembled so much that she could not stir. As she stood between 
her couch and her sister's chamber she heard the voice of Chal- 
ciope calling to her. 

She went into the chamber where her sister stood. Chalciope 
flung her arms around her. " Swear," said she to Medea, 


"swear by Hecate, the Moon, that you will never speak of 
something I am going to ask you." Medea swore that she 
would never speak of it. 

Chalciope spoke of the danger her sons were in. She asked 
Medea to devise a way by which they could escape with the 
stranger from Aea. "In Aea and in Colchis," she said, "there 
will be no safety for my sons henceforth." And to save Phrontis 
and Melas, she said, Medea would have to save the strangers 
also. Surely she knew of a charm that would save the stranger 
from the brazen bulls in the contest on the morrow! 

So Chalciope came to the very thing that was in Medea's 
mind. Her heart bounded with joy and she embraced her. 
"Chalciope," she said, "I declare that I am your sister, indeed 
aye, and your daughter, too, for did you not care for me when 
I was an infant? I will strive to save your sons. I will strive 
to save the strangers who came with your sons. Send one to 
the strangers send him to the leader of the strangers, and 
tell him that I would see him at daybreak in the temple of 

When Medea said this Chalciope embraced her again. She 
was amazed to see how Medea's tears were flowing. "Chal- 
ciope," she said, "no one will know the dangers that I shall go 
through to save them." 

Swiftly then Chalciope went from the chamber. But Medea 
stayed there with her head bowed and the blush of shame on 
her face. She thought that already she had deceived her sister, 


making her think that it was Phrontis and Melas and not Jason 
that was in her mind to save. And she thought on how she 
would have to plot against her father and against her own people, 
and all for the sake of a stranger who would sail away without 
thought of her, without the image of her in his mind. 

Jason, with Peleus and Telamon, went back to the Argo. His 
comrades asked how he had fared, and when he spoke to them 
of the fire-breathing bulls with feet of brass, of the dragon's 
teeth that had to be sown, and of the Earth-born Men that had 
to be overcome, the Argonauts were greatly cast down, for this 
task, they thought, was one that could not be accomplished. 
He who stood before the fire-breathing bulls would perish on 
the moment. But they knew that one amongst them must 
strive to accomplish the task. And if Jason held back, Peleus, 
Telamon, Theseus, Castor, Polydeuces, or any one of the others 
would undertake it. 

But Jason would not hold back. On the morrow, he said, he 
would strive to yoke the fire-breathing, brazen-footed bulls to 
the plow of adamant. If he perished the Argonauts should 
then do what they thought was best make other trials to 
gain the Golden Fleece, or turn their ship and sail back to Greece. 

While they were speaking, Phrontis, Chalciope's son, came 
to the ship. The Argonauts welcomed him, and in a while he 
began to speak of his mother's sister and of the help she could 
give. They grew eager as he spoke of her, all except rough 


Areas, who stood wrapped in his bear's skin. " Shame on us," 
rough Areas cried, "shame on us if we have come here to crave 
the help of girls! Speak no more of this! Let us, the Argo- 
nauts, go with swords into the city of Aea, and slay this king, 
and carry off the Fleece of Gold." 

Some of the Argonauts murmured approval of what Areas 
said. But Orpheus silenced him and them, for in his prophetic 
mind Orpheus saw something of the help that Medea would 
give them. It would be well, Orpheus said, to take help from 
this wise maiden; Jason should go to her in the temple of 
Hecate. The Argonauts agreed to this; they listened to what 
Phrontis told them about the brazen bulls, and the night wore on. 

When darkness came upon the earth; when, at sea, sailors 
looked to the Bear and the stars of Orion; when, in the city, 
there was no longer the sound of barking dogs nor of men's 
voices, Medea went from the palace. She came to a path; 
she followed it until it brought her into the part of the grove 
that was all black with the shadow that oak trees made. 

She raised up her hands and she called upon Hecate, the 
Moon. As she did, there was a blaze as from torches all around, 
and she saw horrible serpents stretching themselves toward her 
from the branches of the trees. Medea shrank back in fear. 
But again she called upon Hecate. And now there was a howl- 
ing as from the hounds of Hades all around her. Fearful, indeed, 
Medea grew as the howling came near her; almost she turned 


to flee. But she raised her hands again and called upon Hecate. 
Then the nymphs who haunted the marsh and the river shrieked, 
and at those shrieks Medea crouched down in fear. 

She called upon Hecate, the Moon, again. She saw the moon 
rise above the tree tops, and then the hissing and shrieking and 
howling died away. Holding up a goblet in her hand Medea 
poured out a libation of honey to Hecate, the Moon. 

And then she went to where the moon made a brightness 
upon the ground. There she saw a flower that rose above the 
other flowers a flower that grew from two joined stalks, and 
that was of the color of a crocus. Medea cut the stalks with a 
brazen knife, and as she did there came a deep groan out of 
the earth. 

This was the Promethean flower. It had come out of the 
earth first when the vulture that tore at Prometheus's liver had 
let fall to earth a drop of his blood. With a Caspian shell that 
she had brought with her Medea gathered the dark juice of this 
flower the juice that went to make her most potent charm. 
All night she went through the grove gathering the juice of 
secret herbs ; then she mingled them in a phial that she put away 
in her girdle. 

She went from that grove and along the river. When the 
sun shed its first rays upon snowy Caucasus she stood outside 
the temple of Hecate. She waited, but she had not long to 
wait, for, like the bright star Sirius rising out of Ocean, soon 
she saw Jason coming toward her. She made a sign to him. 


and he came and stood beside her in the portals of the 

They would have stood face to face if Medea did not have 
her head bent. A blush had come upon her face, and Jason 
seeing it, and seeing how her head was bent, knew how grievous 
it was to her to meet and speak to a stranger in this way. He 
took her hand and he spoke to her reverently, as one would 
speak to a priestess. 

"Lady," he said, "I implore you by Hecate and by Zeus who 
helps all strangers and suppliants to be kind to me and to the 
men who have come to your country with me. Without your 
help I cannot hope to prevail in the grievous trial that has 
been laid upon me. If you will help us, Medea, your name will 
be renowned throughout all Greece. And I have hopes that 
you will help us, for your face and form show you to be one who 
can be kind and gracious." 

The blush of shame had gone from Medea's face and a softer 
blush came over her as Jason spoke. She looked upon him 
and she knew that she could hardly live if the breath of the 
brazen bulls withered his life or if the Earth-born Men slew him. 
She took the charm from out her girdle; ungrudgingly she put 
it into Jason's hands. And as she gave him the charm that 
she had gained with such danger, the fear and trouble that was 
around her heart melted as the dew melts from around the rose 
when it is warmed by the first light of the morning. 

Then they spoke standing close together in the portal of the 


temple. She told him how he should anoint his body all over 
with the charm; it would give him, she said, boundless and 
untiring strength, and make him so that the breath of the 
bulls could not wither him nor the horns of the bulls pierce 
him. She told him also to sprinkle his shield and his sword 
with the charm. 

And then they spoke of the dragon's teeth and of the Earth- 
born Men who would spring from them. Medea told Jason 
that when they arose out of the earth he was to cast a great 
stone amongst them. The Earth-born Men would struggle about 
the stone, and they would slay each other in the contest. 

Her dark and delicate face was beautiful. Jason looked upon 
her, and it came into his mind that in Colchis there was some- 
thing else of worth besides the Golden Fleece. And he thought 
that after he had won the Fleece there would be peace between 
the Argonauts and King ^Eetes, and that he and Medea might 
sit together in the king's hall. But when he spoke of being 
joined in friendship with her father, Medea cried: 

" Think not of treaties nor of covenants. In Greece such are 
regarded, but not here. Ah, do not think that the king, my 
father, will keep any peace with you! When you have won the 
Fleece you must hasten away. You must not tarry in Aea." 

She said this and her cheeks were wet with tears to think 
that he should go so soon, that he would go so far, and that 
she would never look upon him again. She bent her head again 
and she said: "Tell me about your own land; about the place 


of your father, the place where you will live when you win back 
from Colchis." 

Then Jason told her of Icolus ; he told her how it was circled 
by mountains not so lofty as her Caucasus; he told her of the 
pasture lands of lolcus with their flocks of sheep; he told her 
of the Mountain Pelion where he had been reared by Chiron, 
the ancient centaur; he told her of his father who lingered out 
his life in waiting for his return. 

Medea said: "When you go back to lolcus do not forget me, 
Medea. I shall remember you, Jason, even in my father's 
despite. And it will be my hope that some rumor of you will 
come to me like some messenger-bird. If you forget me may 
some blast of wind sweep me away to lolcus, and may I sit in 
your hall an unknown and an unexpected guest!' 1 

Then they parted; Medea went swiftly back to the palace, 
and Jason, turning to the river, went to where the Argo was 

The heroes embraced and questioned him; he told them of 
Medea's counsel and he showed them the charm she had given 
him. That savage man Areas scoffed at Medea's counsel and 
Medea's charm, saying that the Argonauts had become poor- 
spirited indeed when they had to depend upon a girl's help. 

Jason bathed in the river; then he anointed himself with the 
charm; he sprinkled his spear and shield and sword with it. 
He came to Areas who sat upon his bench, still nursing his 
anger, and he held the spear toward him. 


Areas took up his heavy sword and he hewed at the butt 
of the spear. The edge of the sword turned. The blade leaped 
back in his hand as if it had been struck against an anvil. And 
Jason, feeling within him a boundless and tireless strength, 
laughed aloud. 


HEY took the ship out of the backwater 
and they brought her to a wharf in the 
city. At a place that was called "The 
Ram's Couch ' ; they fastened the Argo. 
Then they marched to the field of Ares, 
where the king and the Colchian people 

Jason, carrying his shield and spear, went before the king. 
From the king's hand he took the gleaming helmet that held 
the dragon's teeth. This he put into the hands of Theseus, who 
went with him. Then with the spear and shield in his hands, 
with his sword girt across his shoulders, and with his mantle 
stripped off, Jason looked across the field of Ares. 

He saw the plow that he was to yoke to the bulls; he saw 
the yoke of bronze near it; he saw the tracks of the bulls' hooves. 
He followed the tracks until he came to the lair of the fire- 
breathing bulls. Out of that lair, which was underground, smoke 
and fire belched. 


He set his feet firmly upon the ground and he held his shield 
before him. He awaited the onset of the bulls. They came 
clanging up with loud bellowing, breathing out fire. They low- 
ered their heads, and with mighty, iron-tipped horns they came 
to gore and trample him. 

Medea's charm had made him strong; Medea's charm had 
made his shield impregnable. The rush of the bulls did not 
overthrow him. His comrades shouted to see him standing 
firmly there, and in wonder the Colchians gazed upon him. 
All round him, as from a furnace, there came smoke and fire. 

The bulls roared mightily. Grasping the horns of the bull 
that was upon his right hand, Jason dragged him until he had 
brought him beside the yoke of bronze. Striking the brazen 
knees of the bull suddenly with his foot he forced him down. 
Then he smote the other bull as it rushed upon him, and it too 
he forced down upon its knees. 

Castor and Polydeuces held the yoke to him. Jason bound 
it upon the necks of the bulls. He fastened the plow to the 
yoke. Then he took his shield and set it upon his back, and 
grasping the handles of the plow he started to make the 

With his long spear he drove the bulls before him as with a 
goad. Terribly they raged, furiously they breathed out fire. 
Beside Jason Theseus went holding the helmet that held the 
dragon's teeth. The hard ground was torn up by the plow 
of adamant, and the clods groaned as they were cast up. Jason 


flung the teeth between the open sods, often turning his head in 
fear that the deadly crop of the Earth-born Men were rising 
behind him. 

By the time that a third of the day was finished the field 
of Ares had been plowed and sown. As yet the furrows were 
free of the Earth-born Men. Jason went down to the river 
and filled his helmet full of water and drank deeply. And his 
knees that were stiffened with the plowing he bent until they 
were made supple again. 

He saw the field rising into mounds. It seemed that there 
were graves all over the field of Ares. Then he saw spears and 
shields and helmets rising up out of the earth. Then armed 
warriors sprang up, a fierce battle cry upon their lips. 

Jason remembered the counsel of Medea. He raised a boulder 
that four men could hardly raise and with arms hardened by the 
plowing he cast it. The Colchians shouted to see such a 
stone cast by the hands of one man. Right into the middle 
of the Earth-born Men the stone came. They leaped upon it 
like hounds, striking at one another as they came together. 
Shield crashed on shield, spear rang upon spear as they struck 
at each other. The Earth-born Men, as fast as they arose, went 
down before the weapons in the hands of their brethren. 

Jason rushed upon them, his sword in his hand. He slew 
some that had risen out of the earth only as far as the shoulders; 
he slew others whose feet were still in the earth; he slew others 
who were ready to spring upon him. Soon all the Earth-born 


Men were slain, and the furrows ran with their dark blood as 
channels run with water in springtime. 

The Argonauts shouted loudly for Jason's victory. King 
yEetes rose from his seat that was beside the river and he went 
back to the city. The Colchians followed him. Day faded, 
and Jason's contest was ended. 

But it was not the will of ^Eetes that the strangers should be 
let depart peaceably with the Golden Fleece that Jason had won. 
In the assembly place, with his son Apsyrtus beside him, and 
with the furious Colchians all around him, the king stood: on 
his breast was the gleaming corselet that Ares had given him, 
and on his head was that golden helmet with its four plumes 
that made him look as if he were truly the son of Helios, the 
Sun. Lightnings flashed from his great eyes; he spoke fiercely 
to the Colchians, holding in his hand his bronze-topped 

He would have them attack the strangers and burn the Argo. 
He would have the sons of Phrixus slain for bringing them 
to Aea. There was a prophecy, he declared, that would have 
him be watchful of the treachery of his own offspring: this 
prophecy was being fulfilled by the children of Chalciope; he 
feared, too, that his daughter, Medea, had aided the strangers. 
So the king spoke, and the Colchians, hating all strangers, 
shouted around him. 

Word of what her father had said was brought to Medea. 


She knew that she would have to go to the Argonauts and 
bid them flee hastily from Aea. They would not go, she knew, 
without the Golden Fleece; then she, Medea, would have to 
show them how to gain the Fleece. 

Then she could never again go back to her father's palace, 
she could never again sit in this chamber and talk to her hand- 
maidens, and be with Chalciope, her sister. Forever after- 
ward she would be dependent on the kindness of strangers. 
Medea wept when she thought of all this. And then she cut 
off a tress of her hair and she left it in her chamber as a 
farewell from one who was going afar. Into the chamber where 
Chalciope was she whispered farewell. 

The palace doors were all heavily bolted, but Medea did not 
have to pull back the bolts. As she chanted her Magic Song 
the bolts softly drew back, the doors softly opened. Swiftly 
she went along the ways that led to the river. She came to 
where fires were blazing and she knew that the Argonauts were 

She called to them, and Phrontis, Chalciope's son, heard the 
cry and knew the voice. To Jason he spoke, and Jason quickly 
went to where Medea stood. 

She clasped Jason's hand and she drew him with her. "The 
Golden Fleece," she said, "the time has come when you must 
pluck the Golden Fleece off the oak in the grove of Ares." 
When she said these words all Jason's being became taut like 
the string of a bow. 


It was then the hour when huntsmen cast sleep from their 
eyes - - huntsmen who never sleep away the end of the night, 
but who are ever ready to be up and away with their hounds 
before the beams of the sun efface the track and the scent of 
the quarry. Along a path that went from the river Medea 
drew Jason. They entered a grove. Then Jason saw some- 
thing that was like a cloud filled with the light of the rising 
sun. It hung from a great oak tree. In awe he stood and 
looked upon it, knowing that at last he looked upon THE 

His hand let slip Medea's hand and he went to seize the 
Fleece. As he did he heard a dreadful hiss. And then he saw 
the guardian of the Golden Fleece. Coiled all around the tree, 
with outstretched neck and keen and sleepless eyes, was a deadly 
serpent. Its hiss ran all through the grove and the birds that 
were wakening up squawked in terror. 

Like rings of smoke that rise one above the other, the coils 
of the serpent went around the tree - - coils covered by hard 
and gleaming scales. It uncoiled, stretched itself, and lifted 
its head to strike. Then Medea dropped on her knees before 
it, and began to chant her Magic Song. 

As she sang, the coils around the tree grew slack. Like a 
dark, noiseless wave the serpent sank down on the ground. 
But still its jaws were open, and those dreadful jaws threatened 
Jason. Medea, with a newly cut spray of juniper dipped in a 
mystic brew, touched its deadly eyes. And still she chanted 


her Magic Song. The serpent's jaws closed; its eyes became 
deadened; far through the grove its length was stretched out. 

Then Jason took the Golden Fleece. As he raised his hands 
to it, its brightness was such as to make a flame on his face. 
Medea called to him. He strove to gather it all up in his arms; 
Medea was beside him, and they went swiftly on. 

They came to the river and down to the place where the 
Argo was moored. The heroes who were aboard started up, 
astonished to see the Fleece that shone as with the lightning 
of Zeus. Over Medea Jason cast it, and he lifted her aboard 
the Argo. 

"O friends," he cried, "the quest on which we dared the 
gulfs of the sea and the wrath of kings is accomplished, thanks 
to the help of this maiden. Now may we return to Greece; 
now have we the hope of looking upon our fathers and our 
friends once more. And in all honor will we bring this maiden 
with us, Medea, the daughter of King ^Eetes." 

Then he drew his sword and cut the hawsers of the ship, 
calling upon the heroes to drive the Argo on. There was a din 
and a strain and a splash of oars, and away from Aea the Argo 
dashed. Beside the mast Medea stood; the Golden Fleece had 
fallen at her feet, and her head and face were covered by her 
silver veil. 



HAT silver veil was to be splashed with 
a brother's blood, and the Argonauts, 
because of that calamity, were for a long 
time to be held back from a return to 
their native land. 

Now as they went down the river they 
saw that dangers were coming swiftly 
upon them. The chariots of the Colchians were upon the 
banks. Jason saw King ^Eetes in his chariot, a blazing torch 
lighting his corselet and his helmet. Swiftly the Argo went, but 
there were ships behind her, and they went swiftly too. 

They came into the Sea of Pontus, and Phrontis, the son of 
Phrixus, gave counsel to them. "Do not strive to make the 
passage of the Symplegades," he said. "All who live around 
the Sea of Pontus are friendly to King ^Eetes; they will be 
warned by him, and they will be ready to slay us and take the 
Argo. Let us journey up the River Ister, and by that way we 
can come to the Thrinacian Sea that is close to your land." 

The Argonauts thought well of what Phrontis said; into the 
waters of the Ister the ship was brought. Many of the Col- 
chian ships passed by the mouth of the river, and went seeking 
the Argo toward the passage of the Symplegades. 

But the Argonauts were on a way that was dangerous for 
them. For Apsyrtus had not gone toward the Symplegades 


seeking the Argo. He had led his soldiers overland to the River 
Ister at a place that was at a distance above its mouth. There 
were islands in the river at that place, and the soldiers of Apsyr- 
tus landed on the islands, while Apsyrtus went to the kings of 
the people around and claimed their support. 

The Argo came and the heroes found themselves cut off. 
They could not make their way between the islands that were 
filled with the Colchian soldiers, nor along the banks that were 
lined with men friendly to King ^Eetes. Argo was stayed. 
Apsyrtus sent for the chiefs; he had men enough to overwhelm 
them, but he shrank from a fight with the heroes, and he thought 
that he might gain all he wanted from them without a struggle. 

Theseus and Peleus went to him. Apsyrtus would have them 
give up the Golden Fleece; he would have them give up Medea 
and the sons of Phrixus also. 

Theseus and Peleus appealed to the judgment of the kings 
who supported Apsyrtus. ^Eetes, they said, had no more claim 
on the Golden Fleece. He had promised it to Jason as a re- 
ward for tasks that he had imposed. The tasks had been ac- 
complished and the Fleece, no matter in what way it was taken 
from the grove of Ares, was theirs. So Theseus and Peleus 
said, and the kings who supported Apsyrtus gave judgment for 
the Argonauts. 

But Medea would have to be given to her brother. If that 
were done the Argo would be let go on her course, Apsyrtus said, 
and the Golden Fleece would be left with them. Apsyrtus said, 


too, that he would not take Medea back to the wrath of her 
father; if the Argonauts gave her up she would be let stay 
on the island of Artemis and under the guardianship of the 

The chiefs brought Apsyrtus's words back. There was a 
council of the Argonauts, and they agreed that they should 
leave Medea on the island of Artemis. 

But grief and wrath took hold of Medea when she heard of 
this resolve. Almost she would burn the Argo. She went to 
where Jason stood, and she spoke again of all she had done 
to save his life and win the Golden Fleece for the Argonauts. 
Jason made her look on the ships and the soldiers that were 
around them; he showed her how these could overwhelm the 
Argonauts and slay them all. With all the heroes slain, he 
said, Medea would come into the hands of Apsyrtus, who then 
could leave her on the island of Artemis or take her back to the 
wrath of her father. 

But Medea would not consent to go nor could Jason's heart 
consent to let her go. Then these two made a plot to deceive 

"I have not been of the council that agreed to give you up 
to him," Jason said. " After you have been left there I will 
take you off the island of Artemis secretly. The Colchians 
and the kings who support them, not knowing that you have 
been taken off and hidden on the Argo, will let us pass." This 
Medea and Jason planned to do, and it was an ill thing, for it 


was breaking the covenant that the chiefs had entered with 

Medea then was left by the Argonauts on the island of Ar- 
temis. Now Apsyrtus had been commanded by his father to 
bring her back to Aea; he thought that when she had been 
left by the Argonauts he could force her to come with him. 
So he went over to the island. Jason, secretly leaving his 
companions, went to the island from the other side. 

Before the temple of Artemis Jason and Apsyrtus came face 
to face. Both men, thinking they had been betrayed to their 
deaths, drew their swords. Then, before the vestibule of the 
temple and under the eyes of Medea, Jason and Apsyrtus 
fought. Jason's sword pierced the son of ^Eetes; as he fell 
Apsyrtus cried out bitter words against Medea, saying that 
it was on her account that he had come on his death. And 
as he fell the blood of her brother splashed Medea's silver 

Jason lifted Medea up and carried her to the Argo. They hid 
the maiden under the Fleece of Gold and they sailed past the 
ships of the Colchians. When darkness came they were far 
from the island of Artemis. It was then that they heard a loud 
wailing, and they knew that the Colchians had discovered that 
their prince had been slain. 

The Colchians did not pursue them. Fearing the wrath of 
^Eetes they made settlements in the lands of the kings who 
had supported Apsyrtus; they never went back to Aea; they 


called themselves Apsyrtians henceforward, naming themselves 
after the prince they had come with. 

They had escaped the danger that had hemmed them in, 
but the Argonauts, as they sailed on, were not content; cove- 
nants had been broken, and blood had been shed in a bad cause. 
And as they went on through the darkness the voice of the 
ship was heard; at the sound of that voice fear and sorrow 
came upon the voyagers, for they felt that it had a prophecy 
of doom. 

Castor and Polydeuces went to the front of the ship; hold- 
ing up their hands, they prayed. Then they heard the words 
that the voice uttered: in the night as they went on the voice 
proclaimed the wrath of Zeus on account of the slaying of 

What was their doom to be? It was that the Argonauts 
would have to wander forever over the gulfs of the sea unless 
Medea had herself cleansed of her brother's blood. There was 
one who could cleanse Medea Circe, the daughter of Helios 
and Perse. The voice urged the heroes to pray to the im- 
mortal gods that the way to the island of Circe be shown to 




HEY sailed up the River Ister until they 
came to the Eridanus, that river across 
which no bird can fly. Leaving the Eri- 
danus they entered the Rhodanus, a river 
that rises in the extreme north, where 
Night herself has her habitation. And 
voyaging up this river they came to the 
Stormy Lakes. A mist lay upon the lakes night and day; 
voyaging through them the Argonauts at last brought out their 
ship upon the Sea of Ausonia. 

It was Zetes and Calais, the sons of the North Wind, who 
brought the Argo safely along this dangerous course. And to 
Zetes and Calais Iris, the messenger of the gods, appeared and 
revealed to them where Circe's island lay. 

Deep blue water was all around that island, and on its height 
a marble house was to be seen. But a strange haze covered 
everything as with a veil. As the Argonauts came near they 
saw what looked to them like great dragonflies; they came down 
to the shore, and then the heroes saw that they were maidens 
in gleaming dresses. 

The maidens waved their hands to the voyagers, calling 
them to come on the island. Strange beasts came up to where 
the maidens were and made whimpering cries. 

The Argonauts would have drawn the ship close and would 


have sprung upon the island only that Medea cried out to 
them. She showed them the beasts that whimpered around 
the maidens, and then, as the Argonauts looked upon them, 
they saw that these were not beasts of the wild. There was 
something strange and fearful about them; the heroes gazed 
upon them with troubled eyes. They brought the ship near, 
but they stayed upon their benches, holding the oars in their 

Medea sprang to the island; she spoke to the maidens so 
that they shrank away; then the beasts came and whimpered 
around her. " Forbear to land here, Argonauts," Medea 
cried, "for this is the island where men are changed into beasts." 
She called to Jason to come; only Jason would she have come 
upon the island. 

They went swiftly toward the marble house, and the beasts 
followed them, looking up at Jason and Medea with pitiful 
human eyes. They went into the marble house of Circe, and 
as suppliants they seated themselves at the hearth. 

Circe stood at her loom, weaving her many-colored threads. 
Swiftly she turned to the suppliants; she looked for something 
strange in them, for just before they came the walls of her 
house dripped with blood and the flame ran over and into her 
pot, burning up all the magic herbs she was brewing. She went 
toward where they sat, Medea with her face hidden by her 
hands, and Jason, with his head bent, holding with its point in 
the ground the sword with which he had slain the son of ^Eetes. 


When Medea took her hands away from before her face, 
Circe knew that, like herself, this maiden was of the race of 
Helios. Medea spoke to her, telling her first of the voyage of 
the heroes and of their toils; telling her then of how she had 
given help to Jason against the will of ^etes, her father; telling 
her then, fearfully, of the slaying of Apsyrtus. She covered her 
face with her robe as she spoke of it. And then she told Circe 
she had come, warned by the judgment of Zeus, to ask of 
Circe, the daughter of Helios, to purify her from the stain of 
her brother's blood. 

Like all the children of Helios, Circe had eyes that were 
wide and full of life, but she had stony lips lips that were 
heavy and moveless. Bright golden hair hung smoothly along 
each of her sides. First she held a cup to them that was filled 
with pure water, and Jason and Medea drank from that cup. 

Then Circe stayed by the hearth; she burnt cakes in the 
flame, and all the while she prayed to Zeus to be gentle with 
these suppliants. She brought both to the seashore. There 
she washed Medea's body and her garments with the spray of 
the sea. 

Medea pleaded with Circe to tell her of the life she foresaw 
for her, but Circe would not speak of it. She told Medea that 
one day she would meet a woman who knew nothing about 
enchantments but who had much human wisdom. She was to 
ask of her what she was to do in her life or what she 
was to leave undone. And whatever this woman out of her 


wisdom told her, that Medea was to regard. Once more Circe 
offered them the cup filled with clear water, and when they 
had drunken of it she left them upon the seashore. As she 
went toward her marble house the strange beasts followed 
Circe, whimpering as they went. Jason and Medea went 
aboard the Argo, and the heroes drew away from Circe's island. 


'EARIED were the heroes now. They 
would have fain gone upon the island of 
Circe to rest there away from the oars 
and the sound of the sea. But the wisest 
of them, looking upon the beasts that 
were men transformed, held the Argo far 
off the shore. Then Jason and Medea 
came aboard, and with heavy hearts and wearied arms they 
turned to the open sea again. 

No longer had they such high hearts as when they drove the 
Argo between the Clashers and into the Sea of Pontus. Now 
their heads drooped as they went on, and they sang such songs 
as slaves sing in their hopeless labor. Orpheus grew fearful 
for them now. 

For Orpheus knew that they were drawing toward a danger. 
There was no other way for them, he knew, but past the Island 
Anthemcessa in the Tyrrhenian Sea where the Sirens were. 


Once they had been nymphs and had tended Persephone before 
she was carried off by Aidoneus to be his queen in the Under- 
world. Kind they had been, but now they were changed, and 
they cared only for the destruction of men. 

All set around with rocks was the island where they were. 
As the Argo came near, the Sirens, ever on the watch to draw 
mariners to their destruction, saw them and came to the rocks 
and sang to them, holding each other's hands. 

They sang all together their lulling song. That song made 
the wearied voyagers long to let their oars go with the waves, 
and drift, drift to where the Sirens were. Bending down to 
them the Sirens, with soft hands and white arms, would lift 
them to soft resting places. Then each of the Sirens sang a 
clear, piercing song that called to each of the voyagers. Each 
man thought that his own name was in that song. "O how 
well it is that you have come near," each one sang, "how well 
it is that you have come near where I have awaited you, having 
all delight prepared for you!' : 

Orpheus took up his lyre as the Sirens began to sing. He 
sang to the heroes of their own toils. He sang of them, how, 
gaunt and weary as they were, they were yet men, men who 
were the strength of Greece, men who had been fostered by 
the love and hope of their country. They were the winners of 
the Golden Fleece and their story would be told forever. And 
for the fame that they had won men would forego all rest and 
all delight. Why should they not toil, they who were born 


for great labors and to face dangers that other men wiight not 
face? Soon hands would be stretched out to them the wel- 
coming hands of the men and women of their own land. 

So Orpheus sang, and his voice and the music of his lyre pre- 
vailed above the Sirens' voices. Men dropped their oars, but 
other men remained at their benches, and pulled steadily, if 
wearily, on. Only one of the Argonauts, Butes, a youth of 
lolcus, threw himself into the water and swam toward the 
rocks from which the Sirens sang. 

But an anguish that nearly parted their spirits from their 
bodies was upon them as they went wearily on. Toward the end 
of the day they beheld another island an island that seemed 
very fair; they longed to land and rest themselves there and eat 
the fruits of the island. But Orpheus would not have them land. 
The island, he said, was Thrinacia. Upon that island the 
Cattle of the Sun pastured, and if one of the cattle perished 
through them their return home might not be won. They 
heard the lowing of the cattle through the mist, and a deep 
longing for the sight of their own fields, with a white house 
near, and flocks and herds at pasture, came over the heroes. 
They came near the Island of Thrinacia, and they saw the 
Cattle of the Sun feeding by the meadow streams; not one of 
them was black; all were white as milk, and the horns upon 
their heads were golden. They saw the two nymphs who 
herded the kine Phaethusa and Lampetia, one with a staff 
of silver and the other with a staff of gold. 


Driven by the breeze that came over the Thrinacian Sea 
the Argonauts came to the land of the Phaeacians. It was a 
good land as they saw when they drew near; a land of orchards 
and fresh pastures, with a white and sun-lit city upon the 
height. Their spirits came back to them as they drew into 
the harbor; they made fast the hawsers, and they went upon 
the ways of the city. 

And then they saw everywhere around them the dark faces 
of Colchian soldiers. These were the men of King ^Eetes, and 
they had come overland to the Phaeacian city, hoping to cut 
off the Argonauts. Jason, when he saw the soldiers, shouted 
to those who had been left on the Argo, and they drew out 
of the harbor, fearful lest the Colchians should grapple with 
the ship and wrest from them the Fleece of Gold. Then 
Jason made an encampment upon the shore, and the captain 
of the Colchians went here and there, gathering together his 

Medea left Jason's side and hastened through the city. To 
the palace of Alcinous, king of the Phaeacians, she went. 
Within the palace she found Arete, the queen. And Arete was 
sitting by her hearth, spinning golden and silver threads. 

Arete was young at that time, as young as Medea, and as 
yet no child had been born to her. But she had the clear 
eyes of one who understands, and who knows how to order 
things well. Stately, too, was Arete, for she had been reared 
in the house of a great king. Medea came to her, and fell upon 


her knees before her, and told her how she had fled from the 
house of her father, King ^Eetes. 

She told Arete, too, how she had helped Jason to win the 
Golden Fleece, and she told her how through her her brother 
had been led to his death. As she told this part of her story 
she wept and prayed at the knees of the queen. 

Arete was greatly moved by Medea's tears and prayers. She 
went to Alcinous in his garden, and she begged of him to save 
the Argonauts from the great force of the Colchians that had 
come to cut them off. "The Golden Fleece," said Arete, "has 
been won by the tasks that Jason performed. If the Colchians 
should take Medea, it would be to bring her back to Aea and to 
a bitter doom. And the maiden," said the queen, "has broken 
my heart by her prayers and tears." 

King Alcinous said: "^Eetes is strong, and although his king- 
dom is far from ours, he can bring war upon us." But still 
Arete pleaded with him to protect Medea from the Colchians. 
Alcinous went within; he raised up Medea from where she 
crouched on the floor of the palace, and he promised her that 
the Argonauts would be protected in his city. 

Then the king mounted his chariot; Medea went with him, 
and they came down to the seashore where the heroes had 
made their encampment. The Argonauts and the Colchians 
were drawn up against each other, and the Colchians far out- 
numbered the wearied heroes. 

Alcinous drove his chariot between the two armies. The 


Colchians prayed him to have the strangers make surrender 
to them. But the king drove his chariot to where the heroes 
stood, and he took the hand of each, and received them as his 
guests. Then the Colchians knew that they might not make 
war upon the heroes. They drew off. The next day they 
marched away. 

It was a rich land that they had come to. Once Aristaeus 
dwelt there, the king who discovered how to make bees store 
up their honey for men and how to make the good olive grow. 
Macris, his daughter, tended Dionysus, the son of Zeus, when 
Hermes brought him of the flame, and moistened his lips 
with honey. She tended him in a cave in the Phaeacian land, 
and ever afterward the Phaeacians were blessed with all good 

Now as the heroes marched to the palace of King Alcinous 
the people came to meet them, bringing them sheep and calves 
and jars of wine and honey. The women brought them fresh 
garments; to Medea they gave fine linen and golden ornaments. 

Amongst the Phaeacians who loved music and games and the 
telling of stories the heroes stayed for long. There were dances, 
and to the Phaeacians who honored him as a god, Orpheus played 
upon his lyre. And every day, for the seven days that they 
stayed amongst them, the Phaeacians brought rich presents to 
the heroes. 

And Medea, looking into the clear eyes of Queen Arete, knew 


that she was the woman of whom Circe had prophesied, the 
woman who knew nothing of enchantments, but who had much 
human wisdom. She was to ask of her what she was to do in 
her life and what she was to leave undone. And what this 
woman told her Medea was to regard. Arete told her that 
she was to forget all the witcheries and enchantments that she 
knew, and that she was never to practice against the life of any 
one. This she told Medea upon the shore, before Jason lifted 
her aboard the Argo. 


ND now with sail spread wide the Argo 
went on, and the heroes rested at the 
oars. The wind grew stronger. It be- 
came a great blast, and for nine days and 
nine nights the ship was driven fearfully 

The blast drove them into the Gulf of 
Libya, from whence there is no return for ships. On each side of 
the gulf there are rocks and shoals, and the sea runs toward 
the limitless sand. On the top of a mighty tide the Argo was 
lifted, and she was flung high up on the desert sands. 

A flood tide such as might not come again for long left the 
Argonauts on the empty Libyan land. And when they came 
forth and saw that vast level of sand stretching like a mist 


away into the distance, a deadly fear came over each of them. 
No spring of water could they descry; no path; no herdsman's 
cabin; over all that vast land there was silence and dead calm. 
And one said to the other: "What land is this? Whither have 
we come? Would that the tempest had overwhelmed us, or 
would that we had lost the ship and our lives between the 
Clashing Rocks at the time when we were making our way 
into the Sea of Pontus." 

And the helmsman, looking before him, said with a breaking 
heart: "Out of this we may not come, even should the breeze 
blow from the land, for all around us are shoals and sharp 
rocks rocks that we can see fretting the water, line upon line. 
Our ship would have been shattered far from the shore if the 
tide had not borne her far up on the sand. But now the tide 
rushes back toward the sea, leaving only foam on which no 
ship can sail to cover the sand. And so all hope of our return 
is cut off." 

He spoke with tears flowing upon his cheeks, and all who had 
knowledge of ships agreed with what the helmsman had said. 
No dangers that they had been through were as terrible as this. 
Hopelessly, like lifeless specters, the heroes strayed about the 
endless strand. 

They embraced each other and they said farewell as they 
laid down upon the sand that might blow upon them and over- 
whelm them in the night. They wrapped their heads in their 
cloaks, and, fasting, they laid themselves down. 


Jason crouched beside the ship, so troubled that his life nearly 
went from him. He saw Medea huddled against a rock and 
with her hair streaming on the sand. He saw the men who, 
with all the bravery of their lives, had come with him, stretched 
on the desert sand, weary and without hope. He thought that 
they, the best of men, might die in this desert with their deeds 
all unknown; he thought that he might never win home with 
Medea, to make her his queen in lolcus. 

He lay against the side of the ship, his cloak wrapped around 
his head. And there death would have come to him and to the 
others if the nymphs of the desert had been unmindful of these 
brave men. They came to Jason. It was midday then, and 
the fierce rays of the sun were scorching all Libya. They drew 
off the cloak that wrapped his head; they stood near him, 
three nymphs girded around with goatskins. 

"Why art thou so smitten with despair?' 1 the nymphs 
said to Jason. "Why art thou smitten with despair, thou who 
hast wrought so much and hast won so much? Up! Arouse 
thy comrades! We are the solitary nymphs, the warders of 
the land of Libya, and we have come to show a way of escape 
to you, the Argonauts. 

"Look around and watch for the time when Poseidon's great 
horse shall be unloosed. Then make ready to pay recompense 
to the mother that bore you all. What she did for you all, 
that you all must do for her; by doing it you will win back to 
the land of Greece." Jason heard them say these words and 


then he saw them no more; the nymphs vanished amongst the 
desert mounds. 

Then Jason rose up. He did not know what to make out 
of what had been told him, but there was courage now and 
hope in his heart. He shouted; his voice was like the roar of 
a lion calling to his mate. At his shout his comrades roused 
themselves; all squalid with the dust of the desert the Argo- 
nauts stood around him. 

"Listen, comrades, to me," Jason said, "while I speak of a 
strange thing that has befallen me. While I lay by the side 
of our ship three nymphs came before me. With light hands 
they drew away the cloak that wrapped my head. They de- 
clared themselves to be the solitary nymphs, the warders, of 
Libya. Very strange were the words they said to me. When 
Poseidon's great horse shall be unloosed, they said, we were 
to make the mother of us all a recompense, doing for her what 
she had done for us all. This the nymphs told me to say, but 
I cannot understand the meaning of their words." 

There were some there who would not have given heed to 
Jason's words, deeming them words without meaning. But 
even as he spoke a wonder came before their eyes. Out of the 
far-off sea a great horse leaped. Vast he was of size and he 
had a golden mane. He shook the spray of the sea off his sides 
and mane. Past them he trampled and away toward the 
horizon, leaving great tracks in the sand. 

Then Nestor spoke rejoicingly. "Behold the great horse! 


It is the horse that the desert nymphs spoke of, Poseidon's 
horse. Even now has the horse been unloosed, and now is the 
time to do what the nymphs bade us do. 

"Who but Argo is the mother of us all? She has carried us. 
Now we must make her a recompense and carry her even as 
she carried us. With untiring shoulders we must bear Argo 
across this great desert. 

"And whither shall we bear her? Whither but along the tracks 
that Poseidon's horse has left in the sand! Poseidon's horse will 
not go under the earth - - once again he will plunge into the sea!' : 

So Nestor said and the Argonauts saw truth in his saying. 
Hope came to them again - - the hope of leaving that desert 
and coming to the sea. Surely when they came to the sea 
again, and spread the sail and held the oars in their hands, 
their sacred ship would make swift course to their native land! 


ITH the terrible weight of the ship upon 
their shoulders the Argonauts made their 
way across the desert, following the tracks 
of Poseidon's golden-maned horse. Like 
a wounded serpent that drags with pain 
its length along, they went day after day 
across that limitless land. 
A day came when they saw the great tracks of the horse 


no more. A wind had come up and had covered them with 
sand. With the mighty weight of the ship upon their shoulders, 
with the sun beating upon their heads, and with no marks on 
the desert to guide them, the heroes stood there, and it seemed 
to them that the blood must gush up and out of their hearts. 

Then Zetes and Calais, sons of the North Wind, rose up upon 
their wings to strive to get sight of the sea. Up, up, they soared. 
And then as a man sees, or thinks he sees, at the month's begin- 
ning, the moon through a bank of clouds, Zetes and Calais, look- 
ing over the measureless land, saw the gleam of water. They 
shouted to the Argonauts; they marked the way for them, and 
wearily, but with good hearts, the heroes went upon the way. 

They came at last to the shore of what seemed to be a wide 
inland sea. They set Argo down from off their over- wearied 
shoulders and they let her keel take water once more. 

All salt and brackish was that water; they dipped their hands 
into and tasted the salt. Orpheus was able to name the water 
they had come to; it was that lake that was called after Triton, 
the son of Nereus, the ancient one of the sea. They set up an 
altar and they made sacrifices in thanksgiving to the gods. 

They had come to water at last, but now they had to seek 
for other water - - for the sweet water that they could drink. 
All around them they looked, but they saw no sign of a spring. 
And then they felt a wind blow upon them a wind that had 
in it not the dust of the desert but the fragrance of growing 
things. Toward where that wind blew from they went. 


As they went on they saw a great shape against the sky; 
they saw mountainous shoulders bowed. Orpheus bade them 
halt and turn their faces with reverence toward that great 
shape: for this was Atlas the Titan, the brother of Prometheus, 
who stood there to hold up the sky on his shoulders. 

Then they were near the place that the fragrance had blown 
from: there was a garden there; the only fence that ran around 
it was a lattice of silver. " Surely there are springs in the 
garden," the Argonauts said. "We will enter this fair garden 
now and slake our thirst." 

Orpheus bade them walk reverently, for all around them, he 
said, was sacred ground. This garden was the Garden of the 
Hesperides that was watched over by the Daughters of the 
Evening Land. The Argonauts looked through the silver lat- 
tice ; they saw trees with lovely fruit, and they saw three maidens 
moving through the garden with watchful eyes. In this garden 
grew the tree that had the golden apples that Zeus gave to 
Hera as a wedding gift. 

They saw the tree on which the golden apples grew. The 
maidens went to it and then looked watchfully all around them. 
They saw the faces of the Argonauts looking through the silver 
lattice and they cried out, one to the other, and they joined 
their hands around the tree. 

But Orpheus called to them, and the maidens understood 
the divine speech of Orpheus. He made the Daughters of the 
Evening Land know that they who stood before the lattice were 


men who reverenced the gods, who would not strive to enter 
the forbidden garden. The maidens came toward them. 
Beautiful as the singing of Orpheus was their utterance, but 
what they said was a complaint and a lament. 

Their lament was for the dragon Ladon, that dragon with a 
hundred heads that guarded sleeplessly the tree that had the 
golden apples. Now that dragon was slain. With arrows that 
had been dipped in the poison of the Hydra's blood their dragon, 
Ladon, had been slain. 

The Daughters of the Evening Land sang of how a mortal had 
come into the garden that they watched over. He had a great 
bow, and with his arrow he slew the dragon that guarded the 
golden apples. The golden apples he had taken away; they had 
come back to the tree they had been plucked from, for no mortal 
might keep them in his possession. So the maidens sang 
Hespere, Eretheis, and ^Egle and they complained that now, 
unhelped by the hundred-headed dragon, they had to keep 
guard over the tree. 

The Argonauts knew of whom they told the tale Heracles, 
their comrade. Would that Heracles were with them now! 

The Hesperides told them of Heracles of how the springs 
in the garden dried up because of his plucking the golden apples. 
He came out of the garden thirsting. Nowhere could he find 
a spring of water. To yonder great rock he went. He smote 
it with his foot and water came out in full flow. Then he, 
leaning on his hands and with his chest upon the ground, 


drank and drank from the water that flowed from the rifted 

The Argonauts looked to where the rock stood. They caught 
the sound of water. They carried Medea over. And then, 
company after company, all huddled together, they stooped 
down and drank their fill of the clear good water. With lips 
wet with the water they cried to each other, " Heracles! Al- 
though he is not with us, in very truth Heracles has saved his 
comrades from deadly thirst!' 

They saw his footsteps printed upon the rocks, and they fol- 
lowed them until they led to the sand where no footsteps stay. 
Heracles! How glad his comrades would have been if they 
could have had sight of him then ! But it was long ago 
before he had sailed with them that Heracles had been here. 

Still hearing their complaint they turned back to the lattice, 
to where the Daughters of the Evening Land stood. The 
Daughters of the Evening Land bent their heads to listen to 
what the Argonauts told one another, and, seeing them bent 
to'Jisten, Orpheus told a story about one who had gone across 
the Libyan desert, about one who was a hero like unto 


Beyond where Atlas stands there is a cave where the strange 
women, the ancient daughters of Phorcys, live. They have 
been gray from their birth. They have but one eye and one 


tooth between them, and they pass the eye and the tooth, one 
to the other, when they would see or eat. They are called the 
Graiai, these two sisters. 

Up to the cave where they lived a youth once came. He 
was beardless, and the garb he wore was torn and travel-stained, 
but he had shapeliness and beauty. In his leathern belt there 
was an exceedingly bright sword; this sword was not straight 
like the swords we carry, but it was hooked like a sickle. The 
strange youth with the bright, strange sword came very quickly 
and very silently up to the cave where the Graiai lived and 
looked over a high boulder into it. 

One was sitting munching acorns with the single tooth. The 
other had the eye in her hand. She was holding it to her fore- 
head and looking into the back of the cave. These two ancient 
women, with their gray hair falling over them like thick fleeces, 
and with faces that were only forehead and cheeks and nose 
and mouth, were strange creatures truly. Very silently the 
youth stood looking at them. 

" Sister, sister/' cried the one who was munching acorns, 
"sister, turn your eye this way. I heard the stir of something." 

The other turned, and with the eye placed against her fore- 
head looked out to the opening of the cave. The youth drew 
back behind the boulder. " Sister, sister, there is nothing there," 
said the one with the eye. 

Then she said: " Sister, give me the tooth for I would eat 
my acorns. Take the eye and keep watch." 


The one who was eating held out the tooth, and the one who 
was watching held out the eye. The youth darted into the 
cave. Standing between the eyeless sisters, he took with one 
hand the tooth and with the other the eye. 

"Sister, sister, have you taken the eye?' : 

"I have not taken the eye. Have you taken the tooth? J: 

"I have not taken the tooth." 

"Some one has taken the eye, and some one has taken the 

They stood together, and the youth watched their blinking 
faces as they tried to discover who had come into the cave, and 
who had taken the eye and the tooth. 

Then they said, screaming together: "Who ever has taken 
the eye and the tooth from the Graiai, the ancient daughters 
of Phorcys, may Mother Night smother him." 

The youth spoke. "Ancient daughters of Phorcys," he said, 
" Graiai, I would not rob from you. I have come to your cave 
only to ask the way to a place." 

"Ah, it is a mortal, a mortal," screamed the sisters. "Well, 
mortal, what would you have from the Graiai? ): 

"Ancient Graiai," said the youth, "I would have you tell 
me, for you alone know, where the nymphs dwell who guard 
the three magic treasures the cap of darkness, the shoes of 
flight, and the magic pouch." 

"We will not tell you, we will not tell you that," screamed 
the two ancient sisters. 


"I will keep the eye and the tooth," said the youth, "and 
I will give them to one who will help me." 

"Give me the eye and I will tell you," said one. "Give me 
the tooth and I will tell you," said the other. The youth put 
the eye in the hand of one and the tooth in the hand of the 
other, but he held their skinny hands in his strong hands until 
they should tell him where the nymphs dwelt who guarded the 
magic treasures. The Gray Ones told him. Then the youth 
with the bright sword left the cave. As he went out he saw 
on the ground a shield of bronze, and he took it with him. 

To the other side of where Atlas stands he went. There he 
came upon the nymphs in their valley. They had long dwelt 
there, hidden from gods and men, and they were startled to see a 
stranger youth come into their hidden valley. They fled away. 
Then the youth sat on the ground, his head bent like a man 
who is very sorrowful. 

The youngest and the fairest of the nymphs came to him at 
last. "Why have you come, and why do you sit here in such 
great trouble, youth? >: said she. And then she said: "What 
is this strange sickle-sword that you wear? Who told you the 
way to our dwelling place? What name have you? ' : 

"I have come here," said the youth, and he took the bronze 
shield upon his knees and began to polish it, "I have come here 
because I want you, the nymphs who guard them, to give to 
me the cap of darkness and the shoes of flight and the magic 
pouch. I must gain these things; without them I must go to 


my death. Why I must gain them you will know from my 

When he said that he had come for the three magic treasures 
that they guarded, the kind nymph was more startled than she 
and her sisters had been startled by the appearance of the 
strange youth in their hidden valley. She turned away from 
him. But she looked again and she saw that he was beautiful 
and brave looking. He had spoken of his death. The nymph 
stood looking at him pitifully, and the youth, with the bronze 
shield laid beside his knees and the strange hooked sword lying 
across it, told her his story. 

"I am Perseus," he said, "and my grandfather, men say, is 
king in Argos. His name is Acrisius. Before I was born a 
prophecy was made to him that the son of Danae, his daughter, 
would slay him. Acrisius was frightened by the prophecy, and 
when I was born he put my mother and myself into a chest, 
and he sent us adrift upon the waves of the sea. 

"I did not know what a terrible peril I was in, for I was an 
infant newly born. My mother was so hopeless that she came 
near to death. But the wind and the waves did not destroy us: 
they brought us to a shore; a shepherd found the chest, and he 
opened it and brought my mother and myself out of it alive. 
The land we had come to was Seriphus. The shepherd who 
found the chest and who rescued my mother and myself was 
the brother of the king. His name was Dictys. 


"In the shepherd's wattled house my mother stayed with me, 
a little infant, and in that house I grew from babyhood to child- 
hood, and from childhood to boyhood. He was a kind man, 
this shepherd Dictys. His brother Polydectes had put him 
away from the palace, but Dictys did not grieve for that, for 
he was happy minding his sheep upon the hillside, and he was 
happy in his little hut of wattles and clay. 

" Polydectes, the king, was seldom spoken to about his 
brother, and it was years before he knew of the mother and 
child who had been brought to live in Dictys's hut. But at 
last he heard of us, for strange things began to be said about 
my mother how she was beautiful, and how she looked like 
one who had been favored by the gods. Then one day when 
he was hunting, Polydectes the king came to the hut of Dictys 
the shepherd. 

"He saw Danae, my mother, there. By her looks he knew 
that she was a king's daughter and one who had been favored 
by the gods. He wanted her for his wife. But my mother 
hated this harsh and overbearing king, and she would not wed 
with him. Often he came storming around the shepherd's hut, 
and at last my mother had to take refuge from him in a temple. 
There she became the priestess of the goddess. 

"I was taken to the palace of Polydectes, and there I was 
brought up. The king still stormed around where my mother 
was, more and more bent on making her marry him. If she 
had not been in the temple where she was under the pro- 


tection of the goddess he would have wed her against her 

"But I was growing up now, and I was able to give some 
protection to my mother. My arm was a strong one, and Poly- 
dectes knew that if he wronged my mother in any way, I had 
the will and the power to be deadly to him. One day I heard 
him say before his princes and his lords that he would wed, 
and would wed one who was not Danae. I was overjoyed to 
hear him say this. He asked the lords and the princes to come 
to the wedding feast; they declared they would, and they told 
him of the presents they would bring. 

"Then King Polydectes turned to me and he asked me to 
come to the wedding feast. I said I would come. And then, 
because I was young and full of the boast of youth, and because 
the king was now ceasing to be a terror to me, I said that I 
would bring to his wedding feast the head of the Gorgon. 

"The king smiled when he heard me say this, but he smiled 
not as a good man smiles when he hears the boast of youth. 
He smiled, and he turned to the princes and lords, and he said: 
'Perseus will come, and he will bring a greater gift than any 
of you, for he will bring the head of her whose gaze turns living 
creatures into stone/ 

"When I heard the king speak so grimly about my boast the 
fearfulness of the thing I had spoken of doing came over me. 
I thought for an instant that the Gorgon's head appeared before 
me, and that I was then and there turned into stone. 


"The day of the wedding feast came. I came and I brought 
no gift. I stood with my head hanging for shame. Then the 
princes and the lords came forward, and they showed the great 
gifts of horses that they had brought. I thought that the king 
would forget about me and about my boast. And then I heard 
him call my name. 'Perseus/ he said, ' Perseus, bring before 
us now the Gorgon's head that, as you told us, you would bring 
for the wedding gift.' 

"The princes and lords and people looked toward me, and 
I was filled with a deeper shame. I had to say that I had failed 
to bring a present. Then that harsh and overbearing king 
shouted at me. 'Go forth,' he said, 'go forth and fetch the 
present that you spoke of. If you do not bring it remain for- 
ever out of my country, for in Seriphus we will have no empty 
boasters.' The lords and the princes applauded what the king 
said; the people were sad for me and sad for my mother, but 
they might not do anything to help me, so just and so due to 
me did the words of the king seem. There was no help for it, 
and I had to go from the country of Seriphus, leaving my mother 
at the mercy of Poly dec tes. 

"I bade good-by to my sorrowful mother and I went from 
Seriphus from that land that I might not return to without 
the Gorgon's head. I traveled far from that country. One 
day I sat down in a lonely place and prayed to the gods that 
my strength might be equal to the will that now moved in me 
the will to take the Gorgon's head, and take from my name 


the shame of a broken promise, and win back to Seriphus to 
save my mother from the harshness of the king. 

"When I looked up I saw one standing before me. He was 
a youth, too, but I knew by the way he moved, and I knew by 
the brightness of his face and eyes, that he was of the immor- 
tals. I raised my hands in homage to him, and he came near 
me. 'Perseus,' he said, 'if you have the courage to strive, the 
way to win the Gorgon's head will be shown you.' I said that 
I had the courage to strive, and he knew that I was making 
no boast. 

"He gave me this bright sickle-sword that I carry. He told 
me by what ways I might come near enough to the Gorgons 
without being turned into stone by their gaze. He told me 
how I might slay the one of the three Gorgons who was not 
immortal, and how, having slain her, I might take her head 
and flee without being torn to pieces by her sister Gorgons. 

"Then I knew that I should have to come on the Gorgons 
from the air. I knew that having slain the one that could be 
slain I should have to fly with the speed of the wind. And I 
knew that that speed even would not save me I sh uld have 
to be hidden in my flight. To win the head and save myself 
I would need three magic things - - the shoes of flight and the 
magic pouch, and the dogskin cap of Hades that makes its 
wearer invisible. 

"The youth said: 'The magic pouch and the shoes of flight 
and the dogskin cap of Hades are in the keeping of the nymphs 


whose dwelling place no mortal knows. I may not tell 
you where their dwelling place is. But from the Gray Ones, 
from the ancient daughters of Phorcys who live in a cave 
near where Atlas stands, you may learn where their dwelling 
place is.' 

" Thereupon he told me how I might come to the Graiai, and 
how I might get them to tell me where you, the nymphs, had 
your dwelling. The one who spoke to me was Hermes, whose 
dwelling is on Olympus. By this sickle-sword that he gave 
me you will know that I speak the truth." 

Perseus ceased speaking, and she who was the youngest and 
fairest of the nymphs came nearer to him. She knew that he 
spoke truthfully, and besides she had pity for the youth. " But we 
are the keepers of the magic treasures," she said, "and some 
one whose need is greater even than yours may some time require 
them from us. But will you swear that you will bring the magic 
treasures back to us when you have slain the Gorgon and have 
taken her head? >: 

Perseus declared that he would bring the magic treasures 
back to the nymphs and leave them once more in their keep- 
ing. Then the nymph who had compassion for him called to 
the others. They spoke together while Perseus stayed far 
away from them, polishing his shield of bronze. At last the 
nymph who had listened to him came back, the others following 
her. They brought to Perseus and they put into his hands the 


things they had guarded the cap made from dogskin that had 
been brought up out of Hades, a pair of winged shoes, and a long 
pouch that he could hang across his shoulder. 

And so with the shoes of flight and the cap of darkness and 
the magic pouch, Perseus went to seek the Gorgons. The 
sickle-sword that Hermes gave him was at his side, and on his 
arm he held the bronze shield that was now well polished. 

He went through the air, taking a way that the nymphs had 
shown him. He came to Oceanus that was the rim around the 
world. He saw forms that were of living creatures all in stone, 
and he knew that he was near the place where the Gorgons had 
their lair. 

Then, looking upon the surface of his polished shield, he saw 
the Gorgons below him. Two were covered with hard serpent 
scales; they had tusks that were long and were like the tusks 
of boars, and they had hands of gleaming brass and wings of 
shining gold. Still looking upon the shining surface of his shield 
Perseus went down and down. He saw the third sister she 
who was not immortal. She had a woman's face and form, and 
her countenance was beautiful, although there was something 
deadly in its fairness. The two scaled and winged sisters 
were asleep, but the third, Medusa, was awake, and she was 
tearing with her hands a lizard that had come near her. 

Upon her head was a tangle of serpents all with heads raised 
as though they were hissing. Still looking into the mirror of 


his shield Perseus came down and over Medusa. He turned 
his head away from her. Then, with a sweep of the sickle- 
sword he took her head off. There was no scream from the 
Gorgon, but the serpents upon her head hissed loudly. 

Still with his face turned from it he lifted up the head by its 
tangle of serpents. He put it into the magic pouch. He rose 
up in the air. But now the Gorgon sisters were awake. They 
had heard the hiss of Medusa's serpents, and now they looked 
upon her headless body. They rose up on their golden wings, 
and their brazen hands were stretched out to tear the one who 
had slain Medusa. As they flew after him they screamed aloud. 

Although he flew like the wind the Gorgon sisters would have 
overtaken him if he had been plain to their eyes. But the dog- 
skin cap of Hades saved him, for the Gorgon sisters did not 
know whether he was above or below them, behind or before 
them. On Perseus went, flying toward where Atlas stood. 
He flew over this place, over Libya. Drops of blood from 
Medusa's head fell down upon the desert. They were changed 
and became the deadly serpents that are on these sands and 
around these rocks. On and on Perseus flew toward Atlas 
and toward the hidden valley where the nymphs who were 
again to guard the magic treasures had their dwelling place. 
But before he came to the nymphs Perseus had another adven- 

In Ethopia, which is at the other side of Libya, there ruled a 


king whose name was Cepheus. This king had permitted his 
queen to boast that she was more beautiful than the nymphs 
of the sea. In punishment for the queen's impiety and for the 
king's folly Poseidon sent a monster out of the sea to waste 
that country. Every year the monster came, destroying more 
and more of the country of Ethopia. Then the king asked of 
an oracle what he should do to save his land and his people. 
The oracle spoke of a dreadful thing that he would have to do 

-he would have to sacrifice his daughter, the beautiful Prin- 
cess Andromeda. 

The king was forced by his savage people to take the maiden 
Andromeda and chain her to a rock on the seashore, leaving 
her there for the monster to devour her, satisfying himself with 
that prey. 

Perseus, flying near, heard the maiden's laments. He saw 
her lovely body bound with chains to the rock. He came near 
her, taking the cap of darkness off his head. She saw him, and 
she bent her head in shame, for she thought that he would 
think that it was for some dreadful fault of her own that she 
had been left chained in that place. 

Her father had stayed near. Perseus saw him, and called 
to him, and bade him tell why the maiden was chained to the 
rock. The king told Perseus of the sacrifice that he had been 
forced to make. Then Perseus came near the maiden, and he 
saw how she looked at him with pleading eyes. 

Then Perseus made her father promise that he would give 


Andromeda to him for his wife if he should slay the sea monster. 
Gladly Cepheus promised this. Then Perseus once again drew 
his sickle-sword; by the rock to which Andromeda was still 
chained he waited for sight of the sea monster. 

It came rolling in from the open sea, a shapeless and unsightly 
thing. With the shoes of flight upon his feet Perseus rose above 
it. The monster saw his shadow upon the water, and sav- 
agely it went to attack the shadow. Perseus swooped down 
as an eagle swoops down; with his sickle-sword he attacked it, 
and he struck the hook through the monster's shoulder. Ter- 
ribly it reared up from the sea. Perseus rose over it, escaping 
its wide-opened mouth with its treble rows of fangs. Again he 
swooped and struck at it. Its hide was covered all over with 
hard scales and with the shells of sea things, but Perseus' s sword 
struck through it. It reared up again, spouting water mixed 
with blood. On a rock near the rock that Andromeda was 
chained to Perseus alighted. The monster, seeing him, bellowed 
and rushed swiftly through the water to overwhelm him. As it 
reared up he plunged the sword again and again into its body. 
Down into the water the monster sank, and water mixed with 
blood was spouted up from the depths into which it sank. 

Then was Andromeda loosed from her chains. Perseus, the 
conqueror, lifted up the fainting maiden and carried her back 
to the king's palace. And Cepheus there renewed his promise 
to give her in marriage to her deliverer. 

Perseus went on his way. He came to the hidden valley 


where the nymphs had their dwelling place, and he restored to 
them the three magic treasures that they had given him the 
cap of darkness, the shoes of flight, and the magic pouch. And 
these treasures are still there, and the hero who can win his 
way to the nymphs may have them as Perseus had them. 

Again he returned to the place where he had found Andromeda 
chained. With face averted he drew forth the Gorgon's head 
from where he had hidden it between the rocks. He made a 
bag for it out of the horny skin of the monster he had slain. 
Then, carrying his tremendous trophy, he went to the palace 

King Cepheus to claim his bride. 

Now before her father had thought of sacrificing her to the 
sea monster he had offered Andromeda in marriage to a prince 
of Ethopia to a prince whose name was Phineus. Phineus 
did not strive to save Andromeda. But, hearing that she had 
been delivered from the monster, he came to take her for his 
wife; he came to Cepheus's palace, and he brought with him a 
thousand armed men. 

The palace of Cepheus was filled with armed men when 
Perseus entered it. He saw Andromeda on a raised place 
in the hall. She was pale as when she was chained to the rock, 
and when she saw him in the palace she uttered a cry of 

Cepheus, the craven king, would have let him who had come 
with the armed bands take the maiden. Perseus came beside 


Andromeda and he made his claim. Phineus spoke insolently 
to him, and then he urged one of his captains to strike Perseus 
down. Many sprang forward to attack him. Out of the bag 
Perseus drew Medusa's head. He held it before those who were 
bringing strife into the hall. They were turned to stone. One 
of Cepheus's men wished to defend Perseus: he struck at the 
captain who had come near; his sword made a clanging sound 
<as it struck this one who had looked upon Medusa's head. 

Perseus went from the land of Ethopia taking fair Andromeda 
with him. They went into Greece, for he had thought of going 
to Argos, to the country that his grandfather ruled over. At 
this very time Acrisius got tidings of Danae and her son, and 
he knew that they had not perished on the waves of the sea. 
Fearful of the prophecy that told he would be slain by his 
grandson and fearing that he would come to Argos to seek him, 
Acrisius fled out of his country. 

He came into Thessaly. Perseus and Andromeda were there. 
Now, one day the old king was brought to games that were 
being celebrated in honor of a dead hero. He was leaning on 
his staff, watching a youth throw a metal disk, when something 
in that youth's appearance made him want to watch him more 
closely. About him there was something of a being of the 
upper air; it made Acrisius think of a brazen tower and of a 
daughter whom he had shut up there. 

He moved so that he might come nearer to the disk-thrower. 
But as he left where he had been standing he came into the 


line of the thrown disk. It struck the old man on the temple. 
He fell down dead, and as he fell the people cried out his name 
- "Acrisius, King Acrisius!' 1 Then Perseus knew whom the 
disk, thrown by his hand, had slain. 

And because he had slain the king by chance Perseus would 
not go to Argos, nor take over the kingdom that his grand- 
father had reigned over. With Andromeda he went to Seriphus 
where his mother was. And in Seriphus there still reigned Poly- 
dectes, who had put upon him the terrible task of winning the 
Gorgon's head. 

He came to Seriphus and he left Andromeda in the hut of 
Dictys the shepherd. No one knew him; he heard his name 
spoken of as that of a youth who had gone on a foolish quest 
and who would never again be heard of. To the temple where 
his mother was a priestess he came. Guards were placed all 
around it. He heard his mother's voice and it was raised in 
lament: " Walled up here and given over to hunger I shall be 
made go to Polydectes's house and become his wife. ye 
gods, have ye no pity for Danae, the mother of Perseus? ' 

Perseus cried aloud, and his mother heard his voice and her 
moans ceased. He turned around and he went to the palace 
of Polydectes, the king. 

The king received him with mockeries. "I will let you stay 
in Seriphus for a day," he said, "because I would have you at 
a marriage feast. I have vowed that Danae, taken from the 
temple where she sulks, will be my wife by to-morrow's sunset." 


So Polydectes said, and the lords and princes who were around 
him mocked at Perseus and flattered the king. Perseus went 
from them then. The next day he came back to the palace. 
But in his hands now there was a dread thing the bag made 
from the hide of the sea monster that had in it the Gorgon's 

He saw his mother. She was brought in white and fainting, 
thinking that she would now have to wed the harsh and over- 
bearing king. Then she saw her son, and hope came into her 

The king seeing Perseus, said: "Step forward, O youngling, 
and see your mother wed to a mighty man. Step forward to 
witness a marriage, and then depart, for it is not right that a 
youth that makes promises and does not keep them should stay 
in a land that I rule over. Step forward now, you with the 
empty hands." 

But not with empty hands did Perseus step forward. He 
shouted out: "I have brought something to you at last, O king 
a present to you and your mocking friends. But you, O my 
mother, and you, my friends, avert your faces from what I 
have brought." Saying this Perseus drew out the Gorgon's 
head. Holding it by the snaky locks he stood before the com- 
pany. His mother and his friends averted their faces. But 
Polydectes and his insolent friends looked full upon what Per- 
seus showed. "This youth would strive to frighten us with 
some conjuror's trick," they said. They said no more, for they 


became as stones, and as stone images they still stand in that 
hall in Seriphus. 

He went to the shepherd's hut, and he brought Dictys from 
it with Andromeda. Dictys he made king in Polydectes's stead. 
Then with Danae and Andromeda, his mother and his wife, he 
went from Seriphus. 

He did not go to Argos, the country that his grandfather had 
ruled over, although the people there wanted Perseus to come 
to them, and be king over them. He took the kingdom 
of Tiryns in exchange for that of Argos, and there he lived 
with Andromeda, his lovely wife out of Ethopia. They had 
a son named Perses who became the parent of the Persian 

The sickle-sword that had slain the Gorgon went back to 
Hermes, and Hermes took Medusa's head also. That head 
Hermes's divine sister set upon her shield Medusa's head 
upon the shield of Pallas Athene. O may Pallas Athene guard 
us all, and bring us out of this land of sands and stone where 
are the deadly serpents that have come from the drops of blood 
that fell from the Gorgon's head! 

They turned away from the Garden of the Daughters of the 
Evening Land. The Argonauts turned from where the giant 
shape of Atlas stood against the sky and they went toward the 
Tritonian Lake. But not all of them reached the Argo. On his 
way back to the ship, Nauplius, the helmsman, met his death. 

A sluggish serpent was in his way it was not a serpent that 


would strike at one who turned from it. Nauplius trod upon it, 
and the serpent lifted its head up and bit his foot. They raised 
him on their shoulders and they hurried back with him. But 
his limbs became numb, and when they laid him down on the 
shore of the lake he stayed moveless. Soon he grew cold. They 
dug a grave for Nauplius beside the lake, and in that desert 
land they set up his helmsman's oar in the middle of his tomb 
of heaped stones. 

And now like a snake that goes writhing this way and that 
way and that cannot find the cleft in the rock that leads to its 
lair, the Argo went hither and thither striving to find an outlet 
from that lake. No outlet could they find and the way of their 
homegoing seemed lost to them again. Then Orpheus prayed 
to the son of Nereus, to Triton, whose name was on that lake, 
to aid them. 

Then Triton appeared. He stretched out his hand and 
showed them the outlet to the sea. And Triton spoke in 
friendly wise to the heroes, bidding them go upon their way 
in joy. "And as for labor," he said, "let there be no grieving 
because of that, for limbs that have youthful vigor should still 

They took up the oars and they pulled toward the sea, and 
Triton, the friendly immortal, helped them on. He laid hold 
upon Argo's keel and he guided her through the water. The 
Argonauts saw him beneath the water; his body, from his 


head down to his waist, was fair and great and like to the body 
of one of the other immortals. But below his body was like 
a great fish's, forking this way and that. He moved with fins 
that were like the horns of the new moon. Triton helped Argo 
along until they came into the open sea. Then he plunged 
down into the abyss. The heroes shouted their thanks to him. 
Then they looked at each other and embraced each other with 
joy, for the sea that touched upon the land of Greece was open 
before them. 


sun sank; then that star came that 
bids the shepherd bring his flock to the 
fold, that brings the wearied plowman 
to his rest. But no rest did that star 
bring to the Argonauts. The breeze that 
filled the sail died down; they furled the 
sail and lowered the mast; then, once 
again, they pulled at the oars. All night they rowed, and all 
day, and again when the next day came on. Then they saw 
the island that is halfway to Greece - - the great and fair island 
of Crete. 

It was Theseus who first saw Crete- -Theseus who was to 
come to Crete upon another ship. They drew the Argo near the 
great island ; they wanted water, and they were fain to rest there._ 


Minos, the great king, ruled over Crete. He left the guard- 
ing of the island to one of the race of bronze, to Talos, who 
had lived on after the rest of the bronze men had been destroyed. 
Thrice a day would Talos stride around the island; his brazen 
feet were tireless. 

Now Talos saw the Argo drawing near. He took up great 
rocks and he hurled them at the heroes, and very quickly they 
had to draw their ship out of range. 

They were wearied and their thirst was consuming them. 
But still that bronze man stood there ready to sink their ship 
with the great rocks that he took up in his hands. Medea stood 
forward upon the ship, ready to use her spells against the man 
of bronze. 

In body and limbs he was made of bronze and in these he was 
invulnerable. But beneath a sinew in his ankle there was a 
vein that ran up to his neck and that was covered by a thin 
skin. If that vein were broken Talos would perish. 

Medea did not know about this vein when she stood forward 
upon the ship to use her spells against him. Upon a cliff of 
Crete, all gleaming, stood that huge man of bronze. Then, as 
she was ready to fling her spells against him, Medea thought 
upon the words that Arete, the wise queen, had given her - 
that she was not to use spells and not to practice against the 
life of any one. 

But she knew that there was no impiety in using spells and 
practicing against Talos, for Zeus had already doomed all his 


race. She stood upon the ship, and with her Magic Song she 
enchanted him. He whirled round and round. He struck his 
ankle against a jutting stone. The vein broke, and that which 
was the blood of the bronze man flowed out of him like mol- 
ten lead. He stood towering upon the cliff. Like a pine 
upon a mountaintop that the woodman had left half hewn 
through and that a mighty wind pitches against, Talos stood 
upon his tireless feet, swaying to and fro. Then, emptied of 
all his strength, Minos's man of bronze fell into the Cretan Sea. 
The heroes landed. That night they lay upon the land of 
Crete and rested and refreshed themselves. When dawn came 
they drew water from a spring, and once more they went on 
board the Argo. 

A day came when the helmsman said, " To-morrow we shall 
see the shore of Thessaly, and by sunset we shall be in the har- 
bor of Pagasae. Soon, voyagers, we shall be back in the city 
from which we went to gain the Golden Fleece." 

Then Jason brought Medea to the front of the ship so that 
they might watch together for Thessaly, the homeland. The 
Mountain Pelion came into sight. Jason exulted as he looked 
upon that mountain; again he told Medea about Chiron, the 
ancient centaur, and about the days of his youth in the forests 
of Pelion. 

The Argo went on; the sun sank, and darkness came on. 
Never was there darkness such as there was on that night- 


They called that night afterward the Pall of Darkness. To 
the heroes upon the Argo it seemed as if black chaos had come 
over the world again; they knew not whether they were adrift 
upon the sea or upon the River of Hades. No star pierced the 
darkness nor no beam from the moon. 

After a night that seemed many nights the dawn came. In 
the sunrise they saw the land of Thessaly with its mountain, its 
forests, and its fields. They hailed each other as if they had met 
after a long parting. They raised the mast and unfurled the sail. 

But not toward Pagasae did they go. For now the voice 
of Argo came to them, shaking their hearts: Jason and Orpheus, 
Castor and Polydeuces, Zetes and Calais, Peleus and Telamon, 
Theseus, Admetus, Nestor, and Atalanta, heard the cry of their 
ship. And the voice of Argo warned them not to go into the 
harbor of Pagasae. 

As they stood upon the ship, looking toward lolcus, sorrow 
came over all the heroes, such sorrow as made their hearts 
nearly break. For long they stood there in utter numbness. 

Then Admetus spoke Admetus who was the happiest of 
all those who went in quest of the Golden Fleece. "Although 
we may not go into the harbor of Pagasae, nor into the city of 
lolcus," Admetus said, "still we have come to the land of 
Greece. There are other harbors and other cities that we may 
go into. And in all the places that we go to we will be honored, 
for we have gone through toils and dangers, and we have brought 
to Greece the famous Fleece of Gold." 


So Admetus said, and their spirits came back again to the 
heroes - - came back to all of them save Jason. The rest had 
other cities to go to, and fathers and mothers and friends to 
greet them in other places, but for Jason there was only lolcus. 

Medea took his hand, and sorrow for him overcame her. 
For Medea could divine what had happened in lolcus and why 
it was that the heroes might not go there. 

It was to Corinth that the Argo went. Creon, the king of 
Corinth, welcomed them and gave great honor to the heroes 
who had faced such labors and such dangers to bring the world's 
wonder to Greece. 

The Argonauts stayed together until they went to Calydon, 
to hunt the boar that ravaged Prince Meleagrus's country. 
After that they separated, each one going to his own land. 
Jason came back to Corinth where Medea stayed. And in Cor- 
inth he had tidings of the happenings in lolcus. 

King Pelias now ruled more fearfully in lolcus, having brought 
down from the mountains more and fiercer soldiers. And 
^Eson, Jason's father, and Alcimide, his mother, were now 
dead, having been slain by King Pelias. 

This Jason heard from men who came into Corinth from 
Thessaly. And because of the great army that Pelias had 
gathered there, Jason might not yet go into lolcus, either to 
exact a vengeance, or to show the people THE GOLDEN FLEECE 
that he had gone so far to gain. 



k HEY came once more together, the heroes 
of the quest, to hunt a boar in Caly- 
don Jason and Peleus came, Telamon, 
Theseus, and rough Areas, Nestor and 
Helen's brothers Polydeuces and Castor. 
And, most noted of all, there came the 
Arcadian huntress maid, Atalanta. 
Beautiful they all thought her when they knew her aboard 
the Argo. But even more beautiful Atalanta seemed to the 
heroes when she came amongst them in her hunting gear. Her 
lovely hair hung in two bands across her shoulders, and over 
her breast hung an ivory quiver filled with arrows. They said 
that her face with its wide and steady eyes was maidenly for 
a boy's, and boyish for a maiden's face. Swiftly she moved 
with her head held high, and there was not one amongst the 
heroes who did not say, "Oh, happy would that man be whom 
Atalanta the unwedded would take for her husband!' 1 

All the heroes said it, but the one who said it most feelingly 
was the prince of Calydon, young Meleagrus. He more than 

the other heroes felt the wonder of Atalanta's beauty. 



Now the boar they had come to hunt was a monster boar. 
It had come into Calydon and it was laying waste the fields 
and orchards and destroying the people's cattle and horses. 
That boar had been sent into Calydon by an angry divinity. 
For when (Eneus, the king of the country, was making sacri- 
fice to the gods in thanksgiving for a bounteous harvest, he 
had neglected to make sacrifice to the goddess of the wild things, 
Artemis. In her anger Artemis had sent the monster boar to 
lay waste (Eneus's realm. 

It was a monster boar indeed one as huge as a bull, with 
tusks as great as an elephant's; the bristles on its back stood up 
like spear points, and the hot breath of the creature withered 
the growth on the ground. The boar tore up the corn in the 
fields and trampled down the vines with their clusters and heavy 
bunches of grapes; also it rushed against the cattle and de- 
stroyed them in the fields. And no hounds the huntsmen were 
able to bring could stand before it. And so it came to pass 
that men had to leave their farms and take refuge behind the 
walls of the city because of the ravages of the boar. It was 
then that the rulers of Calydon sent for the heroes of the quest 
to join with them in hunting the monster. 

Calydon itseli sent Prince Meleagrus and his two uncles, 
Plexippus and Toxeus. They were brothers to Meleagrus's 
mother, Althaea. Now Althaea was a woman who had sight 
to see mysterious things, but who had also a wayward and 
passionate heart. Once, after her son Meleagrus was born, she 


saw the three Fates sitting by her hearth. They were spinning 
the threads of her son's life, and as they spun they sang to each 
other, "An equal span of life we give to the newborn child, 
and to the billet of wood that now rests above the blaze of 
the fire." Hearing what the Fates sang and understanding it 
Althaea had sprung up from her bed, had seized the billet of 
wood, and had taken it out of the fire before the flames had 
burnt into it. 

That billet of wood lay in her chest, hidden away. And 
Meleagrus nor any one else save Althaea knew of it, nor knew 
that the prince's life would last only for the space it would be 
kept from the burning. On the day of the hunting he appeared 
as the strongest and bravest of the youths of Calydon. And he 
knew not, poor Meleagrus, that the love for Atalanta that had 
sprung into his heart was to bring to the fire the billet of wood 
on which his life depended. 


As Atalanta went, the bow in her hands, Prince Meleagrus 
pressed behind her. Then came Jason and Peleus, Telamon, 
Theseus and Nestor. Behind them came Meleagrus's dark- 
browed uncles, Plexippus and Toxeus. They came to a forest 
that covered the side of a mountain. Huntsmen had assem- 
bled here with hounds held in leashes and with nets to hold the 
rushing quarry. And when they had all gathered together they 
went through the forest on the track of the monster boar. 


It was easy to track the boar, for it had left a broad trail 
through the forest. The heroes and the huntsmen pressed on. 
They came to a marshy covert where the boar had its lair. 
There was a thickness of osiers and willows and tall bullrushes, 
making a place that it was hard for the hunters to go through. 

They roused the boar with the blare of horns and it came 
rushing out. Foam was on its tusks, and its eyes had in them 
the blaze of fire. On the boar came, breaking down the thicket 
in its rush. But the heroes stood steadily with the points of 
their spears toward the monster. 

The hounds were loosed from their leashes and they dashed 
toward the boar. The boar slashed them with its tusks and 
trampled them into the ground. Jason flung his spear. The 
spear went wide of the mark. Another, Areas, cast his, but 
the wood, not the point of the spear, struck the boar, rous- 
ing it further. Then its eyes flamed, and like a great stone shot 
from a catapult the boar rushed on the huntsmen who were 
stationed to the right. In that rush it flung two youths prone 
upon the ground. 

Then might Nestor have missed his going to Troy and his 
part in that story, for the boar swerved around and was upon 
him in an instant. Using his spear as a leaping pole he vaulted 
upward and caught the branches of a tree as the monster dashed 
the spear down in its rush. In rage the beast tore at the trunk 
of the tree. The heroes might have been scattered at this 
\nomen t for Telamon had fallen, tripped by the roots of a tree, 


and Peleus had had to throw himself upon him to pull him out 
of the way of danger, if Polydeuces and Castor had not dashed 
up to their aid. They came riding upon high white horses, 
spears in their hands. The brothers cast their spears, but 
neither spear struck the monster boar. 

Then the boar turned and was for drawing back into the thicket. 
They might have lost it then, for its retreat was impenetrable. 
But before it got clear away Atalanta put an arrow to the 
string, drew the bow to her shoulder, and let the arrow fly. 
It struck the boar, and a patch of blood was seen upon its 
bristles. Prince Meleagrus shouted out, "0 first to strike the 
monster! Honor indeed shall you receive for this, Arcadian 
maid.' 3 

His uncles were made wroth by this speech, as was another, 
the Arcadian, rough Areas. Areas dashed forward, holding 
in his hands a two-headed axe. "Heroes and huntsmen," 
he cried, "you shall see how a man's strokes surpass a girl's." 
He faced the boar, standing on tiptoe with his axe raised for the 
stroke. Meleagrus's uncles shouted to encourage him. But 
the boar's tusks tore him before Arcas's axe fell, and the Arca- 
dian was trampled upon the ground. 

The boar, roused again by Atalanta's arrow, turned on the 
hunters. Jason hurled a spear again. It swerved and struck 
a hound and pinned it to the ground. Then, speaking the 
name of Atalanta, Meleagrus sprang before the heroes and the 


He had two spears in his hands. The first missed and 
stuck quivering in the ground. But the second went right 
through the back of the monster boar. It whirled round and 
round, spouting out blood and foam. Meleagrus pressed on, 
and drove his hunting knife through the shoulders of the 

His uncles, Plexippus and Toxeus, were the first to come to 
where the monster boar was lying outstretched. "It is well, 
the deed you have done, boy," said one; "it is well that none 
of the strangers to our country slew the boar. Now will the 
head and tusks of the monster adorn our hall, and men will 
know that the arms of our house can well protect this land." 

But one word only did Meleagrus say, and that word was 
the name, "Atalanta." The maiden came and Meleagrus, his 
spear upon the head, said, "Take, O fair Arcadian, the spoil of 
the chase. All know that it was you who inflicted the first 
wound upon the boar." 

Plexippus and Toxeus tried to push him away, as if Meleagrus 
was still a boy under their tutoring. He shouted to them to 
stand off, and then he hacked out the terrible tusks and held 
them toward Atalanta. 

She would have taken them, for she, who had never looked 
lovingly upon a youth, was moved by the beauty and the gen- 
erosity of Prince Meleagrus. She would have taken from him 
the spoil of the chase. But as she held out her arms Meleagrus's 
uncles struck them with the poles of their spears. Heavy 


marks were made on the maiden's white arms. Madness then 
possessed Meleagrus, and he took up his spear and thrust it, 
first into the body of Plexippus and then into the body of Toxeus. 
His thrusts were terrible, for he was filled with the fierceness 
of the hunt, and his uncles fell down in death. 

Then a great horror came over all the heroes. They raised 
up the bodies of Plexippus and Toxeus and carried them on 
their spears away from the place of the hunting and toward 
the temple of the gods. Meleagrus crouched down upon the 
ground in horror of what he had done. Atalanta stood beside 
him, her hand upon his head. 


Althaea was in the temple making sacrifice to the gods. She 
saw men come in carrying across their spears the bodies of two 
men. She looked and she saw that the dead men were her two 
brothers, Plexippus and Toxeus. 

Then she beat her breast and she filled the temple with the 
cries of her lamentation. "Who has slain my brothers? Who 
has slain my brothers?" she kept crying out. 

Then she was told that her son Meleagrus had slain her 
brothers. She had no tears to shed then, and in a hard voice 
she asked, "Why did my son slay Plexippus and Toxeus, his 
uncles?' 1 

The one who was wroth with Atalanta, Areas the Arcadian, 


came to her and told her that her brothers had been slain be- 
cause of a quarrel about the girl Atalanta. 

"My brothers have been slain because a girl bewitched my 
son; then accursed be that son of mine," Althaea cried. She 
took off the gold-fringed robe of a priestess, and she put on a 
black robe of mourning. 

Her brothers, the only sons of her father, had been slain, 
and for the sake of a girl. The image of Atalanta came before 
her, and she felt she could punish dreadfully her son. But her 
son was not there to punish; he was far away, and the girl 
for whose sake he had killed Plexippus and Toxeus was with 

The rage she had went back into her heart and made her 
truly mad. "I gave Meleagrus life when I might have let it 
go from him with the burning billet of wood," she cried, "and 
now he has taken the lives of my brothers." And then her 
thought went to the billet of wood that was hidden in the chest. 

Back to her house she went, and when she went within she 
saw a fire of pine knots burning upon the hearth. As she looked 
upon their burning a scorching pain went through her. But 
she went from the hearth, nevertheless, and into the inner 
room. There stood the chest that she had not opened for 
years. She opened it now, and out of it she took the billet 
of wood that had on it the mark of the burning. 

She brought it to the hearth fire. Four times she went to 
throw it into the fire, and four times she stayed her hand. The 


fire was before her, but it was in her too. She saw the images 
of her brothers lying dead, and, saying that he who had slain 
them should lose his life, she threw the billet of wood into the 
fire of pine knots. 

Straightway it caught fire and began to burn. And Althaea 
cried, "Let him die, my son, and let naught remain; let all 
perish with my brothers, even the kingdom that (Eneus, my 
husband, founded." 

Then she turned away and remained stiffly standing by the 
hearth, the life withered up within her. Her daughters came 
and tried to draw her away, but they could not her two 
daughters, Gorge and Deianira. 

Meleagrus was crouching upon the ground with Atalanta 
watching beside him. Now he stood up, and taking her hand 
he said, "Let me go with you to the temple of the gods where I 
shall strive to make atonement for the deed I have done to-day." 

She went with him. But even as they came to the street of 
the city a sharp and a burning pain seized upon Meleagrus. 
More and more burning it grew, and weaker and weaker he 
became. He could not have moved further if it had not been 
for the aid of Atalanta. Jason and Peleus lifted him across 
the threshold and carried him into the temple of the gods. 

They laid him down with his head upon Atalanta's lap. The 
pain within him grew fiercer and fiercer, but at last it died down 
as the burning billet of wood sank down into the ashes. The 
heroes of the quest stood around, all overcome with woe. In 


the street they heard the lamentations for Plexippus and Toxeus, 
for Prince Meleagrus, and for the passing of the kingdom founded 
by CEneus. Atalanta left the temple, and attended by the 
two brothers on the white horses, Polydeuces and Castor, she 
went back to Arcady. 


RINCE PELEUS came on his ship to a 
bay on the coast of Thessaly. His painted 
ship lay between two great rocks, and 
from its poop he saw a sight that en- 
chanted him. Out from the sea, riding 
on a dolphin, came a lovely maiden. 
And by the radiance of her face and 
limbs Peleus knew her for one of the immortal goddesses. 

Now Peleus had borne himself so nobly in all things that 
he had won the favor of the gods themselves. Zeus, who is 
highest amongst the gods, had made this promise to Peleus: 
he would honor him as no one amongst the sons of men had 
been honored before, for he would give him an immortal goddess 
to be his bride. 

She who came out of the sea went into a cave that was over- 
grown with vines and roses. Peleus looked into the cave and 


he saw her sleeping upon skins of the beasts of the sea. His 
heart was enchanted by the sight, and he knew that his life 
would be broken if he did not see this goddess day after day. 
So he went back to his ship and he prayed: "O Zeus, now I 
claim the promise that you once made to me. Let it be that 
this goddess come with me, or else plunge my ship and me 
beneath the waves of the sea." 

And when Peleus said this he looked over the land and the 
water for a sign from Zeus. 

Even then the goddess sleeping in the cave had dreams such 
as had never before entered that peaceful resting place of hers. 
She dreamt that she was drawn away from the deep and the 
wide sea. She dreamt that she was brought to a place that 
was strange and unfree to her. And as she lay in the cave, 
sleeping, tears that might never come into the eyes of an im- 
mortal lay around her heart. 

But Peleus, standing on his painted ship, saw a rainbow 
touch upon the sea. He knew by that sign that Iris, the mes- 
senger of Zeus, had come down through the air. Then a strange 
sight came before his eyes. Out of the sea rose the head of a 
man; wrinkled and bearded it was, and the eyes were very 
old. Peleus knew that he who was there before him was Nereus, 
the ancient one of the sea. 

Said old Nereus: "Thou hast prayed to Zeus, and I am here 
to speak an answer to thy prayer. She whom you have looked 
upon is Thetis, the goddess of the sea. Very loath will she be 


to take Zeus's command and wed with thee. It is her desire 
to remain in the sea, unwedded, and she has refused marriage 
even with one of the immortal gods." 

Then said Peleus, "Zeus promised me an immortal bride. 
If Thetis may not be mine I cannot wed any other, goddess or 
mortal maiden." 

"Then thou thyself wilt have to master Thetis," said Nereus, 
the wise one of the sea. "If she is mastered by thee, she can- 
not go back to the sea. She will strive with all her strength 
and all her wit to escape from thee; but thou must hold her no 
matter what she does, and no matter how she shows herself. 
When thou hast seen her again as thou didst see her at first, 
thou wilt know that thou hast mastered her." And when he 
had said this to Peleus, Nereus, the ancient one of the sea, went 
under the waves. 


With his hero's heart beating more than ever it had beaten 
yet, Peleus went into the cave. Kneeling beside her he looked 
down upon the goddess. The dress she wore was like green 
and silver mail. Her face and limbs were pearly, but through 
them came the radiance that belongs to the immortals. 

He touched the hair of the goddess of the sea, the yellow 
hair that was so long that it might cover her all over. As he 
touched her hair she started up, wakening suddenly out of her 
v sleep. His hands touched her hands and held them. Now he 


knew that if he should loose his hold upon her she would escape 
from him into the depths of the sea, and that thereafter no 
command from the immortals would bring her to him. 

She changed into a white bird that strove to bear itself away. 
Peleus held to its wings and struggled with the bird. She 
changed and became a tree. Around the trunk of the tree 
Peleus clung. She changed once more, and this time her form 
became terrible: a spotted leopard she was now, with burning 
eyes; but Peleus held to the neck of the fierce-appearing leopard 
and was not affrighted by the burning eyes. Then she changed 
and became as he had seen her first a lovely maiden, with the 
brow of a goddess, and with long yellow hair. 

But now there was no radiance in her face or in her limbs. 
She looked past Peleus, who held her, and out to the wide sea. 
"Who is he," she cried, "who has been given this mastery 
over me?' 

Then said the hero: "I am Peleus, and Zeus has given me 
the mastery over thee. Wilt thou come with me, Thetis? Thou 
art my bride, given me by him who is highest amongst the 
gods, and if thou wilt come with me, thou wilt always be loved 
and reverenced by me." 

"Unwillingly I leave the sea," she cried, "unwillingly I go 
with thee, Peleus." 

But life in the sea was not for her any more now that she 
was mastered. She went to Peleus's ship and she went to Phthia, 
his country. And when the hero and the sea goddess 


wedded the immortal gods and goddesses came to their hall and 
brought the bride and the bridegroom wondrous gifts. The three 
sisters who are called the Fates came also. These wise and 
ancient women said that the son born of the marriage of Peleus 
and Thetis would be a man greater than Peleus himself. 


Now although a son was born to her, and although this son 
had something of the radiance of the immortals about him, 
Thetis remained forlorn and estranged. Nothing that her hus- 
band did was pleasing to her. Prince Peleus was in fear that 
the wildness of the sea would break out in her, and that some 
great harm would be wrought in his house. 

One night he wakened suddenly. He saw the fire upon his 
hearth and he saw a figure standing by the fire. It was Thetis, 
his wife. The fire was blazing around something that she held 
in her hands. And while she stood there she was singing to 
herself a strange-sounding song. 

And then he saw what Thetis held in her hands and what 
the fire was blazing around; it was the child, Achilles. 

Prince Peleus sprang from the bed and caught Thetis around 
the waist and lifted her and the child away from the blazing 
fire. He put them both upon the bed, and he took from her 
the child that she held by the heel. His heart was wild within 
him, for the thought that wildness had come over his wife, and 


that she was bent upon destroying their child. But Thetis 
looked on him from under those goddess brows of hers and she 
said to him: "By the divine power that I still possess I would 
have made the child invulnerable; but the heel by which I 
held him has not been endued by the fire and in that place 
some day he may be stricken. All that the fire covered is in- 
vulnerable, and no weapon that strikes there can destroy his 
life. His heel I cannot now make invulnerable, for now the 
divine power is gone out of me." 

When she said this Thetis looked full upon her husband, and 
never had she seemed so unforgiving as she was then. All the 
divine radiance that had remained with her was gone from her 
now, and she seemed a white-faced and bitter-thinking woman. 
And when Peleus saw that such a great bitterness faced him 
he fled from his house. 

He traveled far from his own land, and first he went to the 
help of Heracles, who was then in the midst of his mighty labors. 
Heracles was building a wall around a city. Peleus labored, 
helping him to raise the wall for King Laomedon. Then, one 
night, as he walked by the wall he had helped to build, he heard 
voices speaking out of the earth. And one voice said: "Why 
has Peleus striven so hard to raise a wall that his son shall 
fight hard to overthrow?' 1 No voice replied. The wall was 
built, and Peleus departed. The city around which the wall 
was built was the great city of Troy. 

In whatever place he went Peleus was followed by the hatred 


of the people of the sea, and above all by the hatred of the 
nymph who is called Psamathe. Far, far from his own country 
he went, and at last he came to a country of bright valleys 
that was ruled over by a kindly king --by Ceyx, who was 
called the Son of the Morning Star. 

Bright of face and kindly and peaceable in all his ways was 
this king, and kindly and peaceable was the land that he ruled 
over. And when Prince Peleus went to him to beg for his pro- 
tection, and to beg for unfurrowed fields where he might graze 
his cattle, Ceyx raised him up from where he knelt. " Peace- 
able and plentiful is the land," he said, "and all who come here 
may have peace and a chance to earn their food. Live where 
you will, O stranger, and take the unfurrowed fields by the 
seashore for pasture for your cattle." 

Peace came into Peleus's heart as he looked into the un- 
troubled face of Ceyx, and as he looked over the bright valleys 
of the land he had come into. He brought his cattle to the 
unfurrowed fields by the seashore and he left herdsmen there 
to tend them. And as he walked along these bright valleys he 
thought upon his wife and upon his son Achilles, and there 
were gentle feelings in his breast. But then he thought upon 
the enmity of Psamathe, the woman of the sea, and great trouble 
came over him again. He felt he could not stay in the palace 
of the kindly king. He went where his herdsmen camped and 
he lived with them. But the sea was very near and its sound 
tormented him, and as the days went by, Peleus, wild looking 


and shaggy, became more and more unlike the hero whom once 
the gods themselves had honored. 

One day as he was standing near the palace having speech 
with the king, a herdsman ran to him and cried out: "Peleus, 
Peleus, a dread thing has happened in the unfurrowed fields." 
And when he had got his breath the herdsman told of the thing 
that had happened. 

They had brought the herd down to the sea. Suddenly, from 
the marshes where the sea and land came together, a monstrous 
beast rushed out upon the herd; like a wolf this beast was, but 
with mouth and jaws that were more terrible than a wolf's even. 
The beast seized upon the cattle. Yet it was not hunger that 
made it fierce, for the beasts that it killed it tore, but did 
not devour. It rushed on and on, killing and tearing more 
and more of the herd. "Soon," said the herdsman, "it will have 
destroyed all in the herd, and then it will not spare to destroy 
the other flocks and herds that are in the land.' : 

Peleus was stricken to hear that his herd was being destroyed, 
but more stricken to know that the land of a friendly king 
would be ravaged, and ravaged on his account. For he knew 
that the terrible beast that had come from where the sea and the 
land joined had been sent by Psamathe. He went up on the tower 
that stood near the king's palace. He was able to look out on the 
sea and able to look over all the land. And looking across the 
bright valleys he saw the dread beast. He saw it rush through his 
own mangled cattle and fall upon the herds of the kindly king. 


He looked toward the sea and he prayed to Psamathe to spare 
the land that he had come to. But, even as he prayed, he knew 
that Psamathe would not harken to him. Then he made a 
prayer to Thetis, to his wife who had seemed so unforgiving. 
He prayed her to deal with Psamathe so that the land of Ceyx 
would not be altogether destroyed. 

As he looked from the tower he saw the king come forth 
with arms in his hands for the slaying of the terrible beast. 
Peleus felt fear for the life of the kindly king. Down from the 
tower he came, and taking up his spear he went with Ceyx. 

Soon, in one of the brightest of the valleys, they came upon 
the beast; they came between it and a herd of silken-coated 
cattle. Seeing the men it rushed toward them with blood and 
foam upon its jaws. Then Peleus knew that the spears they 
carried would be of little use against the raging beast. His 
only thought was to struggle with it so that the king might be 
able to save himself. 

Again he lifted up his hands and prayed to Thetis to draw 
away Psamathe's enmity. The beast rushed toward them; 
but suddenly it stopped. The bristles upon its body seemed 
to stiffen. The gaping jaws became fixed. The hounds that 
were with them dashed upon the beast, but then fell back with 
yelps of disappointment. And when Peleus and Ceyx came to 
where it stood they found that the monstrous beast had been 
turned into stone. 

And a stone it remains in that bright valley, a wonder to all 



the men of Ceyx's land. The country was spared the ravages 
of the beast. And the heart of Peleus was uplifted to think 
that Thetis had barkened to his prayer and had prevailed upon 
Psamathe to forego her enmity. Not altogether unforgiving 
was his wife to him. 

That day he went from the land of the bright valleys, from 
the land ruled over by the kindly Ceyx, and he came back to 
rugged Phthia, his own country. When he came near his hall 
he saw two at the doorway awaiting him. Thetis stood there, 
and the child Achilles was by her side. The radiance of the 
immortals was in her face no longer, but there was a glow there, 
a glow of welcome for the hero Peleus. And thus Peleus, long 
tormented by the enmity of the sea-born ones, came back to 
the wife he had won from the sea. 


^HEREAFTER Theseus made up his 
mind to go in search of his father, the 
unknown king, and Medea, the wise 
woman, counseled him to go to Athens. 
After the hunt in Calydon he set 
lorth. On his way he fought with and 
slew two robbers who harassed countries 
and treated people unjustly. 


The first was Sinnias. He was a robber who slew men cruelly 
by tying them to strong branches of trees and letting the branches 
fly apart. On him Theseus had no mercy. The second was a 
robber also, Procrustes: he had a great iron bed on which he 
made his captives lie; if they were too long for that bed he 
chopped pieces off them, and if they were too short he stretched 
out their bodies with terrible racks. On him, likewise, Theseus 
had no mercy; he slew Procrustes and gave liberty to his captives. 

The King of Athens at the time was named ^Egeus. He was 
father of Theseus, but neither Theseus nor he knew that this 
was so. ^Ethra was his mother, and she was the daughter of 
the King of Trcezen. Before Theseus was born his father left 
a great sword under a stone, telling ^Ethra that the boy was 
to have the sword when he was able to move that stone away. 

King yEgeus was old and fearful now: there were wars and 
troubles in the city; besides, there was in his palace an evil 
woman, a witch, to whom the king listened. This woman heard 
that a proud and fearless young man had come into Athens, 
and she at once thought to destroy him. 

So the witch spoke to the fearful king, and she made him 
believe that this stranger had come into Athens to make league 
with his enemies and destroy him. Such was her power over 
^Egeus that she was able to persuade him to invite the stranger 
youth to a feast in the palace, and to gwe him a cup that would 
have poison in it. 

Theseus came to the palace. He sat down to the banquet 


with the king. But before the cup was brought something 
moved him to stand up and draw forth the sword that he carried. 
Fearfully the king looked upon the sword. Then he saw the 
heavy ivory hilt with the curious carving on it, and he knew 
that this was the sword that he had once laid under the stone 
near the palace of the King of Trcezen. He questioned Theseus 
as to how he had come by the sword, and Theseus told him 
how ^thra, his mother, had shown him where it was hidden, 
and how he had been able to take it from under the stone before 
he was grown a youth. More and more ^Egeus questioned him, 
and he came to know that the youth before him was his son 
indeed. He dashed down the cup that had been brought to 
the table, and he shook all over with the thought of how near 
he had been to a terrible crime. The witchwoman watched 
all that passed; mounting on a car drawn by dragons she made 
flight from Athens. 

And now the people of the city, knowing that it was he who 
had slain the robbers Sinnias and Procrustes, rejoiced to have 
Theseus amongst them. When he appeared as their prince they 
rejoiced still more. Soon he was able to bring to an end the 
wars in the city and the troubles that afflicted Athens. 


The greatest king in the world at that time was Minos, King 
.of Crete. Minos had sent his son to Athens to make peace and 


friendship between his kingdom and the kingdom of King ^Egeus. 
But the people of Athens slew the son of King Minos, and be- 
cause /Egeus had not given him the protection that a king 
should have given a stranger come upon such an errand he was 
deemed to have some part in the guilt of his slaying. 

Minos, the great king, was wroth, and he made war on Athens, 
wreaking great destruction upon the country and the people. 
Moreover, the gods themselves were wroth with Athens; they 
punished the people with famine, making even the rivers dry up. 
The Athenians went to the oracle and asked Apollo what they 
should do to have their guilt taken away. Apollo made answer 
that they should make peace with Minos and fulfill all his 

All this Theseus now heard, learning for the first time that 
behind the wars and troubles in Athens there was a deed of evil 
that ^Egeus, his father, had some guilt in. 

The demands that King Minos made upon Athens were ter- 
rible. He demanded that the Athenians should send into Crete 
every year seven youths and seven maidens as a price for the 
life of his son. And these youths and maidens were not to 
meet death merely, nor were they to be reared in slavery 
they were to be sent that a monster called the Minotaur might 
devour them. 

Youths and maidens had been sent, and for the third time 
the messengers of King Minos were coming to Athens. The 
tribute for the Minotaur was to be chosen by lot. The fathers 


and mothers were in fear and trembling, for each man and 
woman thought that his or her son or daughter would be taken 
for a prey for the Minotaur. 

They came together, the people of Athens, and they drew the 
lots fearfully. And on the throne above them all sat their 
pale-faced king, ^Egeus, the father of Theseus. 

Before the first lot was drawn Theseus turned to all of them 
and said, " People of Athens, it is not right that your children 
should go and that I, who am the son of King ^Egeus, should 
remain behind. Surely, if any of the youths of Athens should 
face the dread monster of Crete, I should face it. There is one 
lot that you may leave undrawn. I will go to Crete." 

His father, on hearing the speech of Theseus, came down from 
his throne and pleaded with him, begging him not to go. But 
the will of Theseus was set; he would go with the others and 
face the Minotaur. And he reminded his father of how the 
people had complained, saying that if yEgeus had done the 
duty of a king, Minos' s son would not have been slain and the 
tribute to the Minotaur would have not been demanded. It 
was the passing about of such complaints that had led to the 
war and troubles that Theseus found on his coming to Athens. 

Also Theseus told his father and told the people that he had 
hope in his hands that the hands that were strong enough 
to slay Sinnias and Procrustes, the giant robbers, would be strong 
enough to slay the dread monster of Crete. His father at last 
consented to his going. And Theseus was able to make th* 


people willing to believe that he would be able to overcome 
the Minotaur, and so put an end to the terrible tribute that 
was being exacted from them. 

With six other youths and seven maidens Theseus went on 
board of the ship that every year brought to Crete the grievous 
tribute. This ship always sailed with black sails. But before 
it sailed this time King ^Egeus gave to Nausitheus, the master 
of the ship, a white sail to take with him. And he begged 
Theseus, that in case he should be able to overcome the mon- 
ster, to hoist the white sail he had given. Theseus promised 
he would do this. His father would watch for the return of 
the ship, and if the sail were black he would know that the Mino- 
taur had dealt with his son as it had dealt with the other youths 
who had gone from Athens. And if the sail were white ^Egeus 
would have indeed cause to rejoice. 


And now the black-sailed ship had come to Crete, and the 
youths and maidens of Athens looked from its deck on Knossos, 
the marvelous city that Daedalus the builder had built for 
King Minos. And they saw the palace of the king, the red and 
black palace in which was the labyrinth, made also by Daedalus, 
where the dread Minotaur was hidden. 

In fear they looked upon the city and the palace. But not 
in fear did Theseus look, but in wonder at the magnificence of 


it all the harbor with its great steps leading up into the city, 
the far-spreading palace all red and black, and the crowds of 
ships with their white and red sails. They were brought through 
the city of Knossos to the palace of the king. And there 
Theseus looked upon Minos. In a great red chamber on which 
was painted the sign of the axe, King Minos sat. 

On a low throne he sat, holding in his hand a scepter on which 
a bird was perched. Not in fear, but steadily, did Theseus look 
upon the king. And he saw that Minos had the face of one 
who has thought long upon troublesome things, and that his 
eyes were strangely dark and deep. The king noted that the 
eyes of Theseus were upon him, and he made a sign with his 
head to an attendant and the attendant laid his hand upon 
him and brought Theseus to stand beside the king. Minos 
questioned him as to who he was and what lands he had been 
in, and when he learned that Theseus was the son of ^Egeus, 
the King of Athens, he said the name of his son who had been 
slain, "Androgeus, Androgeus," over and over again, and then 
spoke no more. 

While he stood there beside the king there came into the 
chamber three maidens; one of them, Theseus knew, was the 
daughter of Minos. Not like the maidens of Greece were the 
princess and her two attendants: instead of having on flowing 
garments and sandals and wearing their hair bound, they had 
on dresses of gleaming material that were tight at the waists 
and bell-shaped; the hair that streamed on their shoulders was 


made wavy; they had on high shoes of a substance that shone 
like glass. Never had Theseus looked upon maidens who were 
so strange. 

They spoke to the king in the strange Cretan language; 
then Minos's daughter made reverence to her father, and they 
went from the chamber. Theseus watched them as they went 
through a long passage, walking slowly on their high-heeled 

Through the same passage the youths and maidens of Athens 
were afterward brought. They came into a great hall. The 
walls were red and on them were paintings in black pictures 
of great bulls with girls and slender youths struggling with 
them. It was a place for games and shows, and Theseus stood 
with the youths and maidens of Athens and with the people 
of the palace and watched what was happening. 

They saw women charming snakes; then they saw a boxing 
match, and afterward they all looked on a bout of wrestling. 
Theseus looked past the wrestlers and he saw, at the other end 
of the hall, the daughter of King Minos and her two attendant 

One broad-shouldered and bearded man overthrew all the 
wrestlers who came to grips with him. He stood there boast- 
fully, and Theseus was made angry by the man's arrogance. 
Then, when no other wrestler would come against him, he 
turned to leave the arena. 

But Theseus stood in his way and pushed him back. The 


boastful man laid hands upon him and pulled him into the 
arena. He strove to throw Theseus as he had thrown the others; 
but he soon found that the youth from Greece was a wrestler, 
too, and that he would have to strive hard to overthrow him. 

More eagerly than they had watched anything else the people 
of the palace and the youths and maidens of Athens watched 
the bout between Theseus and the lordly wrestler. Those from 
Athens who looked upon him now thought that they had never 
seen Theseus look so tall and so conquering before; beside the 
slender, dark-haired people of Crete he looked like a statue of 
one of the gods. 

Very adroit was the Cretan wrestler, and Theseus had to use 
all his strength to keep upon his feet; but soon he mastered 
the tricks that the wrestler was using against him. Then the 
Cretan left aside his tricks and began to use all his strength 
to throw Theseus. 

Steadily Theseus stood and the Cretan wrestler was spent 
and gasping in the effort to throw him. Then Theseus made 
him feel his grip. He bent him backward, and then, using all 
his strength suddenly, forced him to the ground. All were 
filled with wonder at the strength and power of this youth from 

Food and wine were given the youths and maidens of Athens, 
and they with Theseus were let wander through the grounds 
of the palace. But they could make no escape, for guards fol- 
lowed them and the way to the ships was filled with strangers 


who would not let them pass. They talked to each other about 
the Minotaur, and there was fear in every word they said. But 
Theseus went from one to the other, telling them that perhaps 
there was a way by which he could come to the monster and 
destroy it. And the youths and maidens, remembering how he 
had overthrown the lordly wrestler, were comforted a little, 
thinking that Theseus might indeed be able to destroy the 
Minotaur and so save all of them. 


Theseus was awakened by some one touching him. He arose 
and he saw a dark-faced servant, who beckoned to him. He 
left the little chamber where he had been sleeping, and then 
he saw outside one who wore the strange dress of the Cretans. 

When Theseus looked full upon her he saw that she was 
none other than the daughter of King Minos. "I am Ariadne/' 
she said, "and, O youth from Greece, I have come to save you 
from the dread Minotaur." 

He looked upon Ariadne's strange face with its long, dark 
eyes, and he wondered how this girl could think that she could 
save him and save the youths and maidens of Athens from the 
Minotaur. Her hand rested upon his arm, and she led him 
into the chamber where Minos had sat. It was lighted now 
by many little lamps. 

"I will show the way of escape to you," said Ariadne. 


Then Theseus looked around, and he saw that none of the 
other youths and maidens were near them, and he looked on 
Ariadne again, and he saw that the strange princess had been 
won to help him, and to help him only. 

"Who will show the way of escape to the others? r asked 

"Ah," said the Princess Ariadne, "for the others there is no 
way of escape." 

"Then," said Theseus, "I will not leave the youths and 
maidens of Athens who came with me to Crete to be devoured 
by the Minotaur." 

"Ah, Theseus," said Ariadne, "they cannot escape the Mino- 
taur. One only may escape, and I want you to be that one. 
I saw you when you wrestled with Deucalion, our great wrestler, 
and since then I have longed to save you." 

"I have come to slay the Minotaur," said Theseus, "and I 
cannot hold my life as my own until I have slain it." 

Said Ariadne, "If you could see the Minotaur, Theseus, and 
if you could measure its power, you would know that you are 
not the one to slay it. I think that only Talos, that giant who 
was all of bronze, could have slain the Minotaur." 

"Princess," said Theseus, "can you help me to come to the 
Minotaur and look upon it so that I can know for certainty 
whether this hand of mine can slay the monster?" 

"I can help you to come to tht Minotaur and look upon it," 
said Ariadne. 


"Then help me, princess," cried Theseus; "help me to come 
to the Minotaur and look upon it, and help me, too, to get 
back the sword that I brought with me to Crete." 

"Your sword will not avail you against the Minotaur," said 
Ariadne; "when you look upon the monster you will know that 
it is not for your hand to slay." 

"Oh, but bring me my sword, princess," cried Theseus, and 
his hands went out to her in supplication. 

"I will bring you your sword," said she. 

She took up a little lamp and went through a doorway, leav- 
ing Theseus standing by the low throne in the chamber of 
Minos. Then after a little while she came back, bringing with 
her Theseus's great ivory-hilted sword. 

"It is a great sword," she said; "I marked it before because 
it is your sword, Theseus. But even this great sword will not 
avail against the Minotaur." 

"Show me the way to come to the Minotaur, Ariadne," 
cried Theseus. 

He knew that she did not think that he would deem himself 
able to strive with the Minotaur, and that when he looked 
upon the dread monster he would return to her and then take 
the way of his escape. 

She took his hand and led him from the chamber of Minos. 
She was not tall, but she stood straight and walked steadily, 
and Theseus saw in her something of the strange majesty that 
he had seen in Minos the king. 


They came to high bronze gates that opened into a vault. 
"Here," said Ariadne, "the labyrinth begins. Very devious 
is the labyrinth, built by Daedalus, in which the Minotaur is 
hidden, and without the clue none could find a way through 
the passages. But I will give you the clue so that you may 
look upon the Minotaur and then come back to me. Theseus, 
now I put into your hand the thread that will guide you through 
all the windings of the labyrinth. And outside the place where 
the Minotaur is you will find another thread to guide you back." 

A cone was on the ground and it had a thread fastened to it. 
Ariadne gave Theseus the thread and the cone to wind it around. 
The thread as he held it and wound it around the cone would 
bring him through all the windings and turnings of the labyrinth. 

She left him, and Theseus went on. Winding the thread 
around the cone he went along a wide passage in the vault. 
He turned and came into a passage that was very long. He 
came to a place in this passage where a door seemed to be, 
but within the frame of the doorway there was only a blank 
wall. But below that doorway there was a flight of six steps, 
and down these steps the thread led him. On he went, and 
he crossed the marks that he himself had made in the dust, 
and he thought he must have come back to the place where he 
had parted from Ariadne. He went on, and he saw before him 
a flight of steps. The thread did not lead up the steps; it led 
into the most winding of passages. So sudden were the turn- 
ings in it that one could not see three steps before one. He was 


dazed by the turnings of this passage, but still he went on. He 
went up winding steps and then along a narrow wall. The 
wall overhung a broad flight of steps, and Theseus had to jump 
to them. Down the steps he went and into a wide, empty 
hall that had doorways to the right hand and to the left hand. 
Here the thread had its end. It was fastened to a cone that 
lay on the ground, and beside this cone was another the clue 
that was to bring him back. 

Now Theseus, knowing he was in the very center of the 
labyrinth, looked all around for sight of the Minotaur. There 
was no sight of the monster here. He went to all the doors and 
pushed at them, and some opened and some remained fast. 
The middle door opened. As it did Theseus felt around him 
a chilling draft of air. 

That chilling draft was from the breathing of the monster. 
Theseus then saw the Minotaur. It lay on the ground, a 
strange, bull-faced thing. 

When the thought came to Theseus that he would have to 
fight that monster alone and in that hidden and empty place 
all delight left him; he grew like a stone; he groaned, and it 
seemed to him that he heard the voice of Ariadne calling him 
back. He could find his way back through the labyrinth and 
come to her. He stepped back, and the door closed on the 
Minotaur, the dread monster of Crete. 

In an instant Theseus pushed the door again. He stood 
within the hall where the Minotaur was, and the heavy door 


shut behind him. He looked again on that dark, bull-faced 
thing. It reared up as a horse rears and Theseus saw that it 
would crash down on him and tear him with its dragon claws. 
With a great bound he went far away from where the monster 
crashed down. Then Theseus faced it: he saw its thick lips 
and its slobbering mouth; he saw that its skin was thick and 

He drew near the monster, his sword in his hand. He struck 
at its eyes, and his sword made a great dint. But no blood 
came, for the Minotaur was a bloodless monster. From its mouth 
and nostrils came a draft that covered him with a chilling slime. 

Then it rushed upon him and overthrew him, and Theseus 
felt its terrible weight upon him. But he thrust his sword 
upward, and it reared up again, screaming with pain. Theseus 
drew himself away, and then he saw it searching around and 
around, and he knew he had made it sightless. Then it faced 
him; all the more fearful it was because from its wounds no 
blood came. 

Anger flowed into Theseus when he saw the monster standing 
frightfully before him ; he thought of all the youths and maidens 
that this bloodless thing had destroyed, and all the youths and 
maidens that it would destroy if he did not slay it now. An- 
grily he rushed upon it with his great sword. It clawed and 
tore him, and it opened wide its most evil mouth as if to draw 
him in to it. But again he sprang at it; he thrust his great sword 
through its neck, and he left his sword there. 


With the last of his strength he pulled open the heavy door 
and he went out from the hall where the Minotaur was. He 
picked up the thread and he began to wind it as he had wound 
the other thread on his way down. On he went, through pas- 
sage after passage, through chamber after chamber. His mind 
was dizzy, and he had little thought for the way he was going. 
His wounds and the chill that the monster had breathed into 
him and his horror of the fearful and bloodless thing made his 
mind almost forsake him. He kept the thread in his hand and 
he wound it as he went on through the labyrinth. He stum- 
bled and the thread broke. He went on for a few steps and 
then he went back to find the thread that had fallen out of his 
hands. In an instant he was in a part of the labyrinth that 
he had not been in before. 

He walked a long way, and then he came on his own foot- 
marks as they crossed themselves in the dust. He pushed open 
a door and came into the air. He was now by the outside wall 
of the palace, and he saw birds flying by him. He leant against 
the wall of the palace, thinking that he would strive no more 
to find his way through the labyrinth. 


That day the youths and maidens of Athens were brought 
through the labyrinth and to the hall where the Minotaur was. 
They went through the passages weeping and lamenting. Some 
cried out for Theseus, and some said that Theseus had deserted 


them. The heavy door was opened. Then those who were 
with the youths and maidens saw the Minotaur lying stark and 
stiff with Theseus's sword through its neck. They shouted and 
blew trumpets and the noise of their trumpets filled the laby- 
rinth. Then they turned back, bringing the youths and maidens 
with them, and a whisper went through the whole palace that 
the Minotaur had been slain. The youths and maidens were 
lodged in the chamber where Minos gave his judgments. 


Theseus, wearied and overcome, fell into a deep sleep by the 
wall of the palace. He awakened with a feeling that the claw 
of the Minotaur was upon him. There were stars in the sky 
above the high palace wall, and he saw a dark-robed and an- 
cient man standing beside him. Theseus knew that this was 
Daedalus, the builder of the palace and the labyrinth. Daedalus 
called and a slim youth came Icarus, the son of Daedalus. 
Minos had set father and son apart from the rest of the palace, 
and Theseus had come near the place where they were con- 
fined. Icarus came and brought him to a winding stairway and 
showed him a way to go. 

A dark-faced servant met and looked him full in the face. 
Then, as if he knew that Theseus was the one whom he had 
been searching for, he led him into a little chamber where there 
were three maidens. One started up and came to him quickly, 
and Theseus again saw Ariadne. 


She hid him in the chamber of the palace where her singing 
birds were, and she would come and sit beside him, asking about 
his own country and telling him that she would go with him 
there. "I showed you how you might come to the Minotaur," 
she said, "and you went there and you slew the monster, and 
now I may not stay in my father's palace." 

And Theseus thought all the time of his return, and of how 
he might bring the youths and maidens of Athens back to their 
own people. For Ariadne, that strange princess, was not dear 
to him as Medea was dear to Jason, or Atalanta the Huntress to 
young Meleagrus. 

One sunset she led him to a roof of the palace and she showed 
him the harbor with the ships, and she showed him the ship 
with the black sail that had brought him to Knossos. She told 
him she would take him aboard that ship, and that the youths 
and maidens of Athens could go with them. She would bring 
to the master of the ship the seal of King Minos, and the master, 
seeing it, would set sail for whatever place Theseus desired to go. 

Then did she become dear to Theseus because of her great 
kindness, and he kissed her eyes and swore that he would 
not go from the palace unless she would come with him to his 
own country. The strange princess smiled and wept as if she 
doubted what he said. Nevertheless, she led him from the roof 
and down into one of the palace gardens. He waited there, 
and the youths and maidens of Athens were led into the garden, 
all wearing cloaks that hid their forms and faces. Young Icarus 


led them from the grounds of the palace and down to the ships. 
And Ariadne went with them, bringing with her the seal of her 
father, King Minos. 

And when they came on board of the black-sailed ship they 
showed the seal to the master, Nausitheus, and the master of 
the ship let the sail take the breeze of the evening, and so 
Theseus went away from Crete. 


To the Island of Naxos they sailed. And when they reached 
that place the master of the ship, thinking that what had been 
done was not in accordance with the will of King Minos, stayed 
the ship there. He waited until other ships came from Knossos. 
And when they came they brought word that Minos would 
not slay nor demand back Theseus nor the youths and maidens 
of Athens. His daughter, Ariadne, he would have back, to 
reign with him over Crete. 

Then Ariadne left the black-sailed ship, and went back to 
Crete from Naxos. Theseus let the princess go, although he 
might have struggled to hold her. But more strange than dear 
did Ariadne remain to Theseus. 

And all this time his father, ^Egeus, stayed on the tower of 
his palace, watching for the return of the ship that had sailed 
for Knossos. The life of the king wasted since the departure 
of Theseus, and now it was but a thread. Every day he watched 
for the return of the ship, hoping against hope that Theseus 


would return alive to him. Then a ship came into the harbor. 
It had black sails. ^Egeus did not know that Theseus was 
aboard of it, and that Theseus in the hurry of his flight and 
in the sadness of his parting from Ariadne had not thought of 
taking out the white sail that his father had given to Nausitheus. 

Joyously Theseus sailed into the harbor, having slain the 
Minotaur and lifted for ever the tribute put upon Athens. 
Joyously he sailed into the harbor, bringing back to their parents 
the youths and maidens of Athens. But the king, his father, 
saw the black sails on his ship, and straightway the thread of 
his life broke, and he died on the roof of tne tower which he 
had built to look out on the sea. 

Theseus landed on the shore of his own country. He had 
the ship drawn up on the beach and he made sacrifices of thanks- 
giving to the gods. Then he sent messengers to the city to an- 
nounce his return. They went toward the city, these joyful 
messengers, but when they came to the gate they heard the 
sounds of mourning and lamentation. The mourning and the 
lamentation were for the death of the king, Theseus 's father. 
They hurried back and they came to Theseus where he stood 
on the beach. They brought a wreath of victory for him, but 
as they put it into his hand they told him of the death of his 
father. Then Theseus left the wreath on the ground, and he 
wept for the death of ^Egeus of ^Egeus, the hero, who had 
left the sword under the stone for him before he was born. 

The men and women who came to the beach wept and laughed 


as they clasped in their arms the children brought back to them. 
And Theseus stood there, silent and bowed; the memory of his 
last moments with his father, of his fight with the Minotaur, 
of his parting with Ariadne all flowed back upon him. He 
stood there with head bowed, the man who might not put upon 
his brows the wreath of victory that had been brought to him. 


There had come into the city a youth of great valor whose 
name was Peirithous: from a far country he had come, filled 
with a desire of meeting Theseus, whose fame had come to him. 
The youth was in Athens at the time Theseus returned. He 
went down to the beach with the townsfolk, and he saw Theseus 
standing alone with his head bowed down. He went to him and 
he spoke, and Theseus lifted his head and he saw before him 
a young man of strength and beauty. He looked upon him, 
and the thought of high deeds came into his mind again. He 
wanted this young man to be his comrade in dangers and upon 
quests. And Peirithous looked upon Theseus, and he felt that 
he was greater and nobler than he had thought. They became 
friends and sworn brothers, and together they went into far 

Now there was in Epirus a savage king who had a very fair 
daughter. He had named this daughter Persephone, naming her 
thus to show that she was held as fast by him as that other Per- 
sephone was held who ruled in the Underworld. No man might 


see her, and no man might wed her. But Peirithous had seen the 
daughter of this king, and he desired above all things to take 
her from her father and make her his wife. He begged Theseus 
to help him enter that king's palace and carry off the maiden. 

So they came to Epirus, Theseus and Peirithous, and they 
entered the king's palace, and they heard the bay of the dread 
hound that was there to let no one out who had once come 
within the walls. Suddenly the guards of the savage king came 
upon them, and they took Theseus and Peirithous and they 
dragged them down into dark dungeons. 

Two great chairs of stone were there, and Theseus and Pei- 
rithous were left seated in them. And the magic powers that 
were in the chairs of stone were such that the heroes could not 
lift themselves out of them. There they stayed, held in the 
great stone chairs in the dungeons of that savage king. 

Then it so happened that Heracles came into the palace of 
the king. The harsh king feasted Heracles and abated his 
savagery before him. But he could not forbear boasting of how 
he had trapped the heroes who had come to carry off Persephone. 
And he told how they could not get out of the stone chairs and 
how they were held captive in his dark dungeon. Heracles lis- 
tened, his heart full of pity for the heroes from Greece who 
had met with such a harsh fate. And when the king mentioned 
that one of the heroes was Theseus, Heracles would feast no 
more with him until he had promised that the one who had 
been his comrade on the Argo would be let go. 


The king said he would give Theseus his liberty if Heraclei 
would carry the stone chair on which he was seated out of the 
dungeon and into the outer world. Then Heracles went down 
into the dungeon. He found the two heroes in the great chairs 
of stone. But one of them, Peirithous, no longer breathed. 
Heracles took the great chair of stone that Theseus was seated 
in, and he carried it up, up, from the dungeon and out into the 
world. It was a heavy task even for Heracles. He broke the 
chair in pieces, and Theseus stood up, released. 

Thereafter the world was before Theseus. He went with Her- 
acles, and in the deeds that Heracles was afterward to accom- 
plish Theseus shared. 


ERACLES was the son of Zeus, but he 
was born into the family of a mortal king. 
When he was still a youth, being over- 
whelmed by a madness sent upon him by 
one of the goddesses, he slew the children 
of his brother Iphicles. Then, coming to 
know what he had done, sleep and rest 

went from him: he went to Delphi, to the shrine of Apollo, to 

be purified of his crime. 
At Delphi, at the shrine of Apollo, the priestess purified him, 


and when she had purified him she uttered this prophecy : " From 
this day forth thy name shall be, not Alcides, but Heracles. 
Thou shalt go to Eurystheus, thy cousin, in Mycenae, and 
serve him in all things. When the labors he shall lay upon 
thee are accomplished, and when the rest of thy life is lived 
out, thou shalt become one of the immortals." Heracles, on 
hearing these words, set out for Mycenae. 

He stood before his cousin who hated him; he, a towering 
man, stood before a king who sat there weak and trembling. 
And Heracles said, "I have come to take up the labors that 
you will lay upon me; speak now, Eurystheus, and tell me what 
you would have me do." 

Eurystheus, that weak king, looking on the young man who 
stood as tall and as firm as one of the immortals, had a heart 
that was filled with hatred. He lifted up his head and he said 
with a frown: 

" There is a lion in Nemea that is stronger and more fierce 
than any lion known before. Kill that lion, and bring the lion's 
skin to me that I may know that you have truly performed 
your task." So Eurystheus said, and Heracles, with neither 
shield nor arms, went forth from the king's palace to seek and 
to combat the dread lion of Nemea. 

He went on until he came into a country where the fences 
were overthrown and the fields wasted and the houses empty 
and fallen. He went on until he came to the waste around that 
land: there he came on the trail of the lion; it led up the side 


of a mountain, and Heracles, without shield or arms, followed 
the trail. 

He heard the roar of the lion. Looking up he saw the beast 
standing at the mouth of a cavern, huge and dark against the 
sunset. The lion roared three times, and then it went within 
the cavern, 

Around the mouth were strewn the bones of creatures it had 
killed and carried there. Heracles looked upon them when he 
came to the cavern. He went within. Far into the cavern he 
went, and then he came to where he saw the lion. It was sleeping. 

Heracles viewed the terrible bulk of the lion, and then he 
looked upon his own knotted hands and arms. He remem- 
bered that it was told of him that, while still a child of eight 
months, he had strangled a great serpent that had come to 
his cradle to devour him. He had grown and his strength had 
grown too. 

So he stood, measuring his strength and the size of the lion. 
The breath from its mouth and nostrils came heavily to him 
as the beast slept, gorged with its prey. Then the lion yawned. 
Heracles sprang on it and put his great hands upon its throat. 
No growl came out of its mouth, but the great eyes blazed 
while the terrible paws tore at Heracles. Against the rock Her- 
acles held the beast; strongly he held it, choking it through 
the skin that was almost impenetrable. Terribly the lion strug- 
gled; but the strong hands of the hero held around its throat 
until it struggled no more. 


Then Heracles stripped off that impenetrable skin from the 
lion's body; he put it upon himself for a cloak. Then, as he 
went through the forest, he pulled up a young oak tree and 
trimmed it and made a club for himself. With the lion's skin 
over him - - that skin that no spear or arrow could pierce - 
and carrying the club in his hand he journeyed on until he came 
to the palace of King Eurystheus. 

The king, seeing coming toward him a towering man all 
covered with the hide of a monstrous lion, ran and hid himself 
in a great jar. He lifted the lid up to ask the servants what 
was the meaning of this terrible appearance. And the servants 
told him that it was Heracles come back with the skin of 
the lion of Nemea. On hearing this Eurystheus hid himself 

He would not speak with Heracles nor have him come near 
him, so fearful was he. But Heracles was content to be left 
alone. He sat down in the palace and feasted himself. 

The servants came to the king; Eurystheus lifted the lid of 
the jar and they told him how Heracles was feasting and de- 
vouring all the goods in the palace. The king flew into a rage, 
but still he was fearful of having the hero before him. He is- 
sued commands through his heralds ordering Heracles to go 
forth at once and perform the second of his tasks. 

It was to slay the great water snake that made its lair in the 
swamps of Lerna. Heracles stayed to feast another day, and 
then, with the lion's skin across his shoulders and the great 


club In his hands, he started off. But this time he did not go 
alone; the boy lolaus went with him. 

Heracles and lolaus w r ent on until they came to the vast 
swamp of Lerna. Right in the middle of the swamp was the 
water snake that was called the Hydra. Nine heads it had, 
and it raised them up out of the water as the hero and his com- 
panion came near. They could not cross the swamp to come 
to the monster, for man or beast would sink and be lost in it. 

The Hydra remained in the middle of the swamp belching 
mud at the hero and his companion. Then Heracles took up 
his bow and he shot flaming arrc x ws at its heads. It grew into 
such a rage that it came through the swamp to attack him. 
Heracles swung his club. As the Hydra came near he knocked 
head after head off its body. 

But for every head knocked off two grew upon the Hydra. 
And as he struggled with the monster a huge crab came out of 
the swamp, and gripping Heracles by the foot tried to draw him 
in. Then Heracles cried out. The boy lolaus came; he killed 
the crab that had come to the Hydra's aid. 

Then Heracles laid hands upon the Hydra and drew it out 
of the swamp. With his club he knocked off a head and he 
had lolaus put fire to where it had been, so that two heads 
might not grow in that place. The life of the Hydra was in 
its middle head; that head he had not been able to knock off 
with his club. Now, with his hands he tore it off, and he placed 


this head under a great stone so that it could not rise into life 
again. The Hydra's life was now destroyed. Heracles dipped 
his arrows into the gall of the monster, making his arrows 
deadly; no thing that was struck by these arrows afterward 
could keep its life. 

Again he came to Eurystheus's palace, and Eurystheus, seeing 
him, ran again and hid himself in the jar. Heracles ordered 
the servants to tell the king that he had returned and that 
the second labor was accomplished. 

Eurystheus, hearing from the servants that Heracles was 
mild in his ways, came out of the jar. Insolently he spoke. 
"Twelve labors you have to accomplish for me," said he to Her- 
acles, "and eleven yet remain to be accomplished." 

"How?" said Heracles. "Have I not performed two of the 
labors? Have I not slain the lion of Nemea and the great 
water snake of Lerna?" 

"In the killing of the water snake you were helped by lolaus," 
said the king, snapping out his words and looking at Heracles 
with shifting eyes. "That labor cannot be allowed you." 

Heracles would have struck him to the ground. But then 
he remembered that the crime that he had committed in his 
madness would have to be expiated by labors performed at the 
order of this man. He looked full upon Eurystheus and he said, 
"Tell me of the other labors, and I will go forth from Mycenae 
and accomplish them." 

Then Eurystheus bade him go and make clean the stables of 


King Augeias. Heracles came into that king's country. The 
smell from the stables was felt for miles around. Countless 
herds of cattle and goats had been in the stables for years, and 
because of the uncleanness and the smell that came from it the 
crops were withered all around. Heracles told the king that he 
would clean the stables if he were given one tenth of the cattle 
and the goats for a reward. 

The king agreed to this reward. Then Heracles drove the 
cattle and the goats out of the stables; he broke through the 
foundations and he made channels for the two rivers Alpheus 
and Peneius. The waters flowed through the stables, and in 
a day all the uncleanness was washed away. Then Heracles 
turned the rivers back into their own courses. 

He was not given the reward he had bargained for, however. 

He went back to Mycenae with the tale of how he had 
cleaned the stables. "Ten labors remain for me to do now," 
he said. 

" Eleven," said Eurystheus. "How can I allow the cleaning 
of King Augeias's stables to you when you bargained for a 
reward for doing it?' 

Then while Heracles stood still, holding himself back from 
striking him, Eurystheus ran away and hid himself in the jar. 
Through his heralds he sent word to Heracles, telling him what 
the other labors would be. 

He was to clear the marshes of Stymphalus of the man- 
eating birds that gathered there; he was to capture and bring 


to the king the golden-horned deer of Coryneia; he was also 
to capture and bring alive to Mycenae the boar of Erymanthus. 

Heracles came to the marshes of Stymphalus. The growth 
of jungle was so dense that he could not cut his way through 
to where the man-eating birds were; they sat upon low bushes 
within the jungle, gorging themselves upon the flesh they had 
carried there. 

For days Heracles tried to hack his way through. He could 
not get to where the birds were. Then, thinking he might not be 
able to accomplish this labor, he sat upon the ground in despair. 

It was then that one of the immortals appeared to him; for 
the first and only time he was given help from the gods. 

It was Athena who came to him. She stood apart from 
Heracles, holding in her hands brazen cymbals. These she 
clashed together. At the sound of this clashing the Stymphalean 
birds rose up from the low bushes behind the jungle. Heracles 
shot at them with those unerring arrows of his. The man- 
eating birds fell, one after the other, into the marsh. 

Then Heracles went north to where the Coryneian deer took 
her pasture. So swift of foot was she that no hound nor hunter 
had ever been able to overtake her. For the whole of a year 
Heracles kept Golden Horns in chase, and at last, on the side 
of the Mountain Artemision, he caught her. Artemis, the god- 
dess of the wild things, would have punished Heracles for cap- 
turing the deer, but the hero pleaded with her, and she relented 
and agreed to let him bring the deer to Mycenae and show her 


to King Eurystheus. And Artemis took charge of Golden Horns 
while Heracles went off to capture the Erymanthean boar. 

He came to the city of Psophis, the inhabitants of which 
were in deadly fear because of the ravages of the boar. Her- 
acles made his way up the mountain to hunt it. Now on this 
mountain a band of centaurs lived, and they, knowing him 
since the time he had been fostered by Chiron, welcomed Her- 
acles. One of them, Pholus, took Heracles to the great house 
where the centaurs had their wine stored. 

Seldom did the centaurs drink wine; a draft of it made them 
wild, and so they stored it away, leaving it in the charge of one 
of their band. Heracles begged Pholus to give him a draft of 
wine; after he had begged again and again the centaur opened 
one of his great jars. 

Heracles drank wine and spilled it. Then the centaurs that 
were without smelt the wine and came hammering at the door, 
demanding the drafts that would make them wild. Heracles 
came forth to drive them away. They attacked him. Then he 
shot at them with his unerring arrows and he drove them away. 
Up the mountain and away to far rivers the centaurs raced, 
pursued by Heracles with his bow. 

One was slain, Pholus, the centaur who had entertained him. 
By accident Heracles dropped a poisoned arrow on his foot. 
He took the body of Pholus up to the top of the mountain and 
buried the centaur there. Afterward, on the snows of Ery- 
manthus, he set a snare for the boar and caught him there. 


Upon his shoulders he carried the boar to Mycenae and he 
led the deer by her golden horns. When Eurystheus had looked 
upon them the boar was slain, but the deer was loosed and she 
fled back to the Mountain Artemision. 

King Eurystheus sat hidden in the great jar, and he thought 
of more terrible labors he would make Heracles engage in. Now 
he would send him oversea and make him strive with fierce 
tribes and more dread monsters. When he had it all thought 
out he had Heracles brought before him and he told him of 
these other labors. 

He was to go to savage Thrace and there destroy the man- 
eating horses of KingDiomedes; afterward he was to go amongst 
the dread women, the Amazons, daughters of Ares, the god of 
war, and take from their queen, Hippolyte, the girdle that Ares 
had given her; then he was to go to Crete and take from the 
keeping of King Minos the beautiful bull that Poseidon had 
given him; afterward he was to go to the Island of Erytheia and 
take away from Geryoneus, the monster that had three bodies 
instead of one, the herd of red cattle that the two-headed hound 
Orthus kept guard over; then he was to go to the Garden of the 
Hesperides, and from that garden he was to take the golden 
apples that Zeus had given to Hera for a marriage gift where 
the Garden of the Hesperides was no mortal knew. 

So Heracles set out on a long and perilous quest. First 
he went to Thrace, that savage land that was ruled over by 
Diomedes, son of Ares, the war god. Heracles broke into the 


stable where the horses were; he caught three of them by their 
heads, and although they kicked and bit and trampled he forced 
them out of the stable and down to the seashore, where his 
companion, Abderus, waited for him. The screams of the fierce 
horses were heard by the men of Thrace, and they, with their 
king, came after Heracles. He left the horses in charge of 
Abderus while he fought the Thracians and their savage king. 
Heracles shot his deadly arrows amongst them, and then he 
fought with their king. He drove them from the seashore, and 
then he came back to where he had left Abderus with the fierce 

They had thrown Abderus upon the ground, and they were 
trampling upon him. Heracles drew his bow and he shot the 
horses with the unerring arrows that were dipped with the gall 
of the Hydra he had slain. Screaming, the horses of King 
Diomedes raced toward the sea, but one fell and another fell, 
and then, as it came to the line of the foam, the third of the 
fierce horses fell. They were all slain with the unerring arrows. 

Then Heracles took up the body of his companion and he 
buried it with proper rights, and over it he raised a column. 
Afterward, around that column a city that bore the name of 
Heracles's friend was built. 

Then toward the Euxine Sea he went. There, where the River 
Themiscyra flows into the sea he saw the abodes of the Amazons. 
And upon the rocks and the steep place he saw the warrior 
women standing with drawn bows in their hands- Most dan- 


gerous did they seem to Heracles. He did not know how to 
approach them; he might shoot at them with his unerring ar- 
rows, but when his arrows were all shot away, the Amazons, 
from their steep places, might be able to kill him with the arrows 
from their bows. 

While he stood at a distance, wondering what he might do, 
a horn was sounded and an Amazon mounted upon a white 
stallion rode toward him. When the warrior- woman came near 
she cried out, " Heracles, the Queen Hippolyte permits you to 
come amongst the Amazons. Enter her tent and declare to the 
queen what has brought you amongst the never-conquered 

Heracles came to the tent of the queen. There stood tall 
Hippolyte with an iron crown upon her head and with a beau- 
tiful girdle of bronze and iridescent glass around her waist. 
Proud and fierce as a mountain eagle looked the queen of the 
Amazons: Heracles did not know in what way he might con- 
quer her. Outside the tent the Amazons stood; they struck 
their shields with their spears, keeping up a continuous savage din. 

"For what has Heracles come to the country of the Ama- 
zons?" Queen Hippolyte asked. 

"For the girdle you wear," said Heracles, and he held his 
hands ready for the struggle. 

"Is it for the girdle given me by Ares, the god of war, that 
you have come, braving the Amazons, Heracles?' asked the 


"For that," said Heracles. 

"I would not have you enter into strife with the Amazons," 
said Queen Hippolyte. And so saying she drew off the girdle 
of bronze and iridescent glass, and she gave it into his hands. 

Heracles took the beautiful girdle into his hands. Fearful 
he was that some piece of guile was being played upon him, but 
then he looked into the open eyes of the queen and he saw that 
she meant no guile. He took the girdle and he put it around 
his great brows; then he thanked Hippolyte and he went from 
the tent. He saw the Amazons standing on the rocks and the 
steep places with bows bent; unchallenged he went on, and he 
came to his ship and he sailed away from that country with 
one more labor accomplished. 

The labor that followed was not dangerous. He sailed over 
sea and he came to Crete, to the land that King Minos ruled 
over. And there he found, grazing in a special pasture, the 
bull that Poseidon had given King Minos. He laid his hands 
upon the bull's horns and he struggled with him and he over- 
threw him. Then he drove the bull down to the seashore. 

His next labor was to take away the herd of red cattle that 
was owned by the monster Geryoneus. In the Island of Ery- 
theia, in the middle of the Stream of Ocean, lived the monster, 
his herd guarded by the two-headed hound Orthus that 
hound was the brother of Cerberus, the three-headed hound 
that kept guard in the Underworld. 

Mounted upon the bull given Minos by Poseidon, Heracles 


fared across the sea. He came even to the straits that divide 
Europe from Africa, and there he set up two pillars as a me- 
morial of his journey - - the Pillars of Heracles that stand to 
this day. He and the bull rested there. Beyond him stretched 
the Stream of Ocean; the Island of Erytheia was there, but Her- 
acles thought that the bull would not be able to bear him so far. 

And there the sun beat upon him, and drew all strength away 
from him, and he was dazed and dazzled by the rays of the 
sun. He shouted out against the sun, and in his anger he 
wanted to strive against the sun. Then he drew his bow and 
shot arrows upward. Far, far out of sight the arrows of Her- 
acles went. And the sun god, Helios, was filled with admira- 
tion for Heracles, the man who would attempt the impossible 
by shooting arrows at him; then did Helios fling down to Her- 
acles his great golden cup. 

Down, and into the Stream of Ocean fell the great golden 
cup of Helios. It floated there wide enough to hold all the 
men who might be in a ship. Heracles put the bull of Minos 
into the cup of Helios, and the cup bore them away, toward 
the west, and across the Stream of Ocean. 

Thus Heracles came to the Island of Erytheia. All over the 
island straggled the red cattle of Geryoneus, grazing upon the 
rich pastures. Heracles, leaving the bull of Minos in the cup, 
went upon the island; he made a club for himself out of a tree 
and he went toward the cattle. 

The hound Orthus bayed and ran toward him; the two- 


headed hound that was the brother of Cerberus sprang at Her- 
acles with poisonous foam upon his jaws. Heracles swung his 
club and struck the two heads off the hound. And where the 
foam of the hound's jaws dropped down a poisonous plant 
sprang up. Heracles took up the body of the hound, and 
swung it around and flung it far out into the Ocean. 

Then the monster Geryoneus came upon him. Three bodies 
he had instead of one; he attacked Heracles by hurling great 
stones at him. Heracles was hurt by the stones. And then the 
monster beheld the cup of Helios, and he began to hurl stones 
at the golden thing, and it seemed that he might sink it in the 
sea, and leave Heracles without a way of getting from the island. 
Heracles took up his bow and he shot arrow after arrow at the 
monster, and he left him dead in the deep grass of the pastures. 

Then he rounded up the red cattle, the bulls and the cows, 
and he drove them down to the shore and into the golden cup 
of Helios where the bull of Minos stayed. Then back across 
the Stream of Ocean the cup floated, and the bull of Crete and 
the cattle of Geryoneus were brought past Sicily and through 
the straits called the Hellespont. To Thrace, that savage land, 
they came. Then Heracles took the cattle out, and the cup of 
Helios sank in the sea. Through the wild lands of Thrace he 
drove the herd of Geryoneus and the bull of Minos, and he 
came into Mycenae once more. 

But he did not stay to speak with Eurystheus. He started 
off to find the Garden of the Hesperides, the Daughters of the 


Evening Land. Long did he search, but he found no one who 
could tell him where the garden was. And at last he went to 
Chiron on the Mountain Pelion, and Chiron told Heracles what 
journey he would have to make to come to the Hesperides, the 
Daughters of the Evening Land. 

Far did Heracles journey; weary he was when he came to 
where Atlas stood, bearing the sky upon his weary shoulders. 
As he came near he felt an undreamt-of perfume being wafted 
toward him. So weary was he with his journey and all his 
toils that he would fain sink down and dream away in that 
evening land. But he roused himself, and he journeyed on 
toward where the perfume came from. Over that place a star 
seemed always about to rise. 

He came to where a silver lattice fenced a garden that was full 
of the quiet of evening. Golden bees hummed through the air, 
and there was the sound of quiet waters. How wild and labori- 
ous was the world he had come from, Heracles thought! He 
felt that it would be hard for him to return to that world. 

He saw three maidens. They stood with wreaths upon their 
heads and blossoming branches in their hands. When the 
maidens saw him they came toward him crying out: "0 man 
who has come into the Garden of the Hesperides, go not near 
the tree that the sleepless dragon guards!' 1 Then they went 
and stood by a tree as if to keep guard over it. All around were 
trees that bore flowers and fruit, but this tree had golden apples 
amongst its bright green leaves. 


Then he saw the guardian of the tree. Beside its trunk a 
dragon lay, and as Heracles came near the dragon showed its 
glittering scales and its deadly claws. 

The apples were within reach, but the dragon, with its glitter- 
ing scales and claws, stood in the way. Heracles shot an arrow; 
then a tremor went through Ladon, the sleepless dragon; it 
screamed and then lay stark. The maidens cried in their grief; 
Heracles went to the tree, and he plucked the golden apples 
and he put them into the pouch he carried. Down on the 
ground sank the Hesperides, the Daughters of the Evening Land, 
and he heard their laments as he went from the enchanted 
garden they had guarded. 

Back from the ends of the earth came Heracles, back from 
the place where Atlas stood holding the sky upon his weary 
shoulders. He went back through Asia and Libya and Egypt, 
and he came again to Mycenae and to the palace of Eurystheus. 

He brought to the king the herd of Geryoneus; he brought 
to the king the bull of Minos; he brought to the king the girdle 
of Hippolyte; he brought to the king the golden apples of the 
Hesperides. And King Eurystheus, with his thin white face, 
sat upon his royal throne and he looked over all the wonderful 
things that the hero had brought him. Not pleased was Eurys- 
theus; rather was he angry that one he hated could win such 
wonderful things. 

He took into his hands the golden apples of the Hesperides. 
But this fruit was not for such as he. An eagle snatched the 


branch from his hand, and the eagle flew and flew until it came 
to where the Daughters of the Evening Land wept in their garden. 
There the eagle let fall the branch with the golden apples, and 
the maidens set it back upon the tree, and behold! it grew as 
it had been growing before Heracles plucked it. 

The next day the heralds of Eurystheus came to Heracles 
and they told him of the last labor that he would have to set 
out to accomplish this time he would have to go down into the 
Underworld, and bring up from King Aidoneus's realm Cer- 
berus, the three-headed hound. 

Heracles put upon him the impenetrable lion's skin and set 
forth once more. This might indeed be the last of his life's 
labors : Cerberus was not an earthly monster, and he who would 
struggle with Cerberus in the Underworld would have the gods 
of the dead against him. 

But Heracles went on. He journeyed to the cave Tainaron, 
which was an entrance to the Underworld. Far into that 
dismal cave he went, and then down, down, until he came to 
Acheron, that dim river that has beyond it only the people of 
the dead. Cerberus bayed at him from the place where the 
dead cross the river. Knowing that he was no shade, the hound 
sprang at Heracles, but he could neither bite nor tear through 
that impenetrable lion's skin. Heracles held him by the neck 
of his middle head so that Cerberus was neither able to bite nor 
tear nor bellow. 

Then to the brink of Acheron came Persephone, queen of the 


Underworld. She declared to Heracles that the gods of the 
dead would not strive against him if he promised to bring Cer- 
berus back to the Underworld, carrying the hound downward 
again as he carried him upward. 

This Heracles promised. He turned around and he carried 
Cerberus, his hands around the monster's neck while foam 
dripped from his jaws. He carried him on and upward toward 
the world of men. Out through a cave that was in the land of 
Trcezen Heracles came, still carrying Cerberus by the neck of 
his middle head. 

From Trcezen to Mycenae the hero went and men fled before 
him at the sight of the monster that he carried. On he went 
toward the king's palace. Eurystheus was seated outside his 
palace that day, looking at the great jar that he had often 
hidden in, and thinking to himself that Heracles would never 
appear to affright him again. Then Heracles appeared. He 
called to Eurystheus, and when the king looked up he held 
the hound toward him. The three heads grinned at Eurys- 
theus; he gave a cry and scrambled into the jar. But before 
his feet touched the bottom of it Eurystheus was dead of fear. 
The jar rolled over, and Heracles looked upon the body that 
was all twisted with fright. Then he turned around and made 
his way back to the Underworld. On the brink of Acheron 
he loosed Cerberus, and the bellow of the three-headed hound 
was heard again. 



It was then that Heracles was given arms by the gods 
the sword of Hermes, the bow of Apollo, the shield made by 
Hephaestus; it was then that Heracles joined the Argonauts and 
journeyed with them to the edge of the Caucasus, where, slay- 
ing the vulture that preyed upon Prometheus 's liver, he, at the 
will of Zeus, liberated the Titan. Thereafter Zeus and 
Prometheus were reconciled, and Zeus, that neither might for- 
get how much the enmity between them had cost gods and 
men, had a ring made for Prometheus to wear; that ring was 
made out of the fetter that had been upon him, and in it was 
set a fragment of the rock that the Titan had been bound to. 

The Argonauts had now won back to Greece. But before 
he saw any of them he had been in Oichalia, and had seen the 
maiden lole. 

The king of Oichalia had offered his daughter lole in mar- 
riage to the hero who could excel himself and his sons in shoot- 
ing with arrows. Heracles saw lole, the blue-eyed and child- 
like maiden, and he longed to take her with him to some place 
near the Garden of the Hesperides, And lole looked on him, 
and he knew that she wondered to see him so tall and so strongly 
knit even as he wondered to see her so childlike and delicate. 

Then the contest began. The king and his sons shot won- 
derfully well, and none of the heroes who stood before Heracles 
had a chance of winning. Then Heracles shot his arrows- 


No matter how far away they moved the mark, Heracles struck 
it and struck the very center of it. The people wondered who 
this great archer might be. And then a name was guessed at 
and went around Heracles! 

When the king heard the name of Heracles he would not let 
him strive in the contest any more. For the maiden lole would 
not be given as a prize to one who had been mad and whose 
madness might afflict him again. So the king said, speaking 
in judgment in the market place. 

Rage came on Heracles when he heard this judgment given. 
He would not let his rage master him lest the madness that 
was spoken of should come with his rage. So he left the city 
of Oichalia declaring to the king and the people that he would 

It was then that, wandering down to Crete, he heard of the 
Argonauts being near. And afterward he heard of them being in 
Calydon, hunting the boar that ravaged (Eneus's country. To 
Calydon Heracles went. The heroes had departed when he came 
into the country, and all the city was in grief for the deaths 
of Prince Meleagrus and his two uncles. 

On the steps of the temple where Meleagrus and his uncles 
had been brought Heracles saw Deianira, Meleagrus's sister. 
She was pale with her grief, this tall woman of the mountains; 
she looked like a priestess, but also like a woman who could 
cheer camps of men with her counsel, her bravery, and her good 
companionship; her hair was very dark and she had dark eyes. 


Straightway she became friends with Heracles; and when 
they saw each other for a while they loved each other. And 
Heracles forgot lole, the childlike maiden whom he had seen 
in Oichalia. 

He made himself a suitor for Deianira, and those who pro- 
tected her were glad of Heracles' s suit, and they told him they 
would give him the maiden to marry as soon as the mourning 
for Prince Meleagrus and his uncles was over. Heracles stayed 
in Calydon, happy with Deianira, who had so much beauty, 
wisdom, and bravery. 

But then a dreadful thing happened in Calydon; by an acci- 
dent, while using his strength unthinkingly, Heracles killed a 
lad who was related to Deianira. He might not marry her 
now until he had taken punishment for slaying one who was 
close to her in blood. 

As a punishment for the slaying it was judged that Heracles 
should be sold into slavery for three years. At the end of his 
three years' slavery he could come back to Calydon and wed 

And so Heracles and Deianira were parted. He was sold as 
a slave in Lydia; the one who bought him was a woman, a 
widow named Omphale. To her house Heracles went, carrying 
his armor and wearing his lion's skin. And Omphale laughed to 
see this tall man dressed in a lion's skin coming to her house 
to do a servant's tasks for her. 

She and all in her house kept up fun with Heracles. They 


would set him to do housework, to carry water, and set vessels 
on the tables, and clear the vessels away. Omphale set him to 
spin with a spindle as the women did. And often she would 
put on Heracles's lion skin and go about dragging his club, 
while he, dressed in woman's garb, washed dishes and emptied 

But he would lose patience with these servant's tasks, and 
then Omphale would let him go away and perform some great 
exploit. Often he went on long journeys and stayed away for 
long times. It was while he was in slavery to Omphale that 
he liberated Theseus from the dungeon in which he was held 
with Peirithous, and it was while he still was in slavery that he 
made his journey to Troy. 

At Troy he helped to repair for King Laomedon the great 
walls that years before Apollo and Poseidon had built around 
the city. As a reward for this labor he was offered the Princess 
Hesione in marriage; she was the daughter of King Laomedon, 
and the sister of Priam, who was then called, not Priam but 
Podarces. He helped to repair the wall, and two of the Argo- 
nauts were there to aid him: one was Peleus and the other was 
Telamon. Peleus did not stay for long: Telamon stayed, and 
to reward Telamon Heracles withdrew his own claim for the 
hand of the Princess Hesione. It was not hard on Heracles to 
do this, for his thoughts were ever upon Deianira. 

But Telamon rejoiced, for he loved Hesione greatly. On the 
day they married Heracles showed the two an eagle in the sky. 


He said it was sent as an omen to them - - an omen for their 
marriage. And in memory of that omen Telamon named his 
son "Aias"; that is, "Eagle." 

Then the walls of Troy were repaired and Heracles turned 
toward Lydia, Omphale's home. Not long would he have to 
serve Omphale now, for his three years' slavery was n arly 
over. Soon he would go back to Calydon and wed Deianira. 

As he went along the road to Lydia he thought of all the 
pleasantries that had been made in Omphale's house and he 
laughed at the memory of them. Lydia was a friendly country, 
and even though he had been in slavery Heracles had had his 
good times there. 

He was tired with the journey and made sleepy with the heat 
of the sun, and when he came within sight of Omphale's house 
he lay down by the side of the road, first taking off his armor, 
and laying aside his bow, his quiver, and his shield. He wak- 
ened up to see two men looking down upon him; he knew that 
these were the Cercopes, robbers who waylaid travelers upon 
this road. They were laughing as they looked down on him, 
and Heracles saw that they held his arms and his armor in 
their hands. 

They thought that this man, for all his tallness, would yield 
to them when he saw that they had his arms and his armor. 
But Heracles sprang up, and he caught one by the waist and 
the other by the neck, and he turned them upside down and 
tied them together by the heck. Now he held them securely 


and he would take them to the town and give them over to 
those whom they had waylaid and robbed. He hung them by 
their heels across his shoulders and marched on. 

But the robbers, as they were being bumped along, began 
co relate pleasantries and mirthful tales to each other, and Her- 
acles, listening, had to laugh. And one said to the other, "0 
my brother, we are in the position of the frogs when the mice 
fell upon them with such fury." And the other said, "Indeed 
nothing can save us if Zeus does not send an ally to us as he 
sent an ally to the frogs." And the first robber said, "Who 
began that conflict, the frogs or the mice?' : And thereupon 
the second robber, his head reaching down to Heracles's waist, 


A warlike mouse came down to the brink of a pond for no 
other reason than to take a drink of water. Up to him hopped 
a frog. Speaking in the voice of one who had rule and authority, 
the frog said: 

"Stranger to our shore, you may not know it, but I am Puff 
Jaw, king of the frogs. I do not speak to common mice, but 
you, as I judge, belong to the noble and kingly sort. Tell me 
your race. If I know it to be a noble one I shall show you my 
kingly friendship." 

The mouse, speaking haughtily, said: "I am Crumb Snatcher, 
and my race is a famous one. My father is the heroic Bread 


Nibbler, and he married Quern Licker, the lovely daughter of a 
king. Like all my race I am a warrior who has never been 
wont to flinch in battle. Moreover, I have been brought up 
as a mouse of high degree, and figs and nuts, cheese and honey- 
cakes is the provender that I have been fed on." 

Now this reply of Crumb Snatcher pleased the kingly frog 
greatly. "Come with me to my abode, illustrious Crumb 
Snatcher," said he, "and I shall show you such entertainment 
as may be found in the house of a king." 

But the mouse looked sharply at him. "How may I get 
to your house?" he asked. "We live in different elements, 
you and I. We mice want to be in the driest of dry places, 
while you frogs have your abodes in the water." 

"Ah," answered Puff Jaw, "you do not know how favored 
the frogs are above all other creatures. To us alone the gods 
have given the power to live both in the water and on the land. 
I shall take you to my land palace that is the other side of the 

"How may I go there with you?" asked Crumb Snatcher the 
mouse, doubtfully. 

"Upon my back," said the frog. "Up now, noble Crumb 
Snatcher. And as we go I will show you the wonders of the 

He offered his back and Crumb Snatcher bravely mounted. 
The mouse put his forepaws around the frog's neck. Then 
Puff Jaw swam out. Crumb Snatcher at first was pleased to 


feel himself moving through the water. But as the dark waves 
began to rise his mighty heart began to quail. He longed to 
be back upon the land. He groaned aloud. 

"How quickly we get on," cried Puff Jaw; "soon we shall be 
at my land palace." 

Heartened by this speech, Crumb Snatcher put his tail into 
the water and worked it as a steering oar. On and on they 
went, and Crumb Snatcher gained heart for the adventure. 
What a wonderful tale he would have to tell to the clans of the 
mice ! 

But suddenly, out of the depths of the pond, a water snake 
raised his horrid head. Fearsome did that head seem to both 
mouse and frog. And forgetful of the guest that he carried 
upon his back, Puff Jaw dived down into the water. He reached 
'die bottom of the pond and lay on the mud in safety. 

But far from safety was Crumb Snatcher the mouse. He 
sank and rose, and sank again. His wet fur weighed him down. 
But before he sank for the last time he lifted up his voice and 
cried out and his cry was heard at the brink of the pond: 

"Ah, Puff Jaw, treacherous frog! An evil thing you have done, 
leaving me to drown in the middle of the pond. Had you faced 
me on the land I should have shown you which of us two was 
the better warrior. Now I must lose my life in the water. But 
I tell you my death shall not go unavenged - - the cowardly 
frogs will be punished for the ill they have done to me who am 
the son of the king of the mice." 


Then Crumb Snatcher sank for the last time. But Lick 
Platter, who was at the brink of the pond, had heard his words. 
Straightway this mouse rushed to the hole of Bread Nibbler 
and told him of the death of his princely son. 

Bread Nibbler called out the clans of the mice. The war- 
rior mice armed themselves, and this was the grand way of 
their arming: 

First, the mice put on greaves that covered their forelegs. 
These they made out of bean shells broken in two. For shield, 
each had a lamp's centerpiece. For spears they had the long 
bronze needles that they had carried out of the houses of men. 
So armed and so accoutered they were ready to war upon the 
frogs. And Bread Nibbler, their king, shouted to them: "Fall 
upon the cowardly frogs, and leave not one alive upon the bank 
of the pond. Henceforth that bank is ours, and ours only. 
Forward!' 1 

And, on the other side, Puff Jaw was urging the frogs to 
battle. "Let us take our places on the edge of the pond," he 
said, "and when the mice come amongst us, let each catch hold 
of one and throw him into the pond. Thus we will get rid of 
these dry bobs, the mice/' 

The frogs applauded the speech of their king, and straight- 
way they went to their armor and their weapons. Their legs 
they covered with the leaves of mallow. For breastplates they 
had the leaves of beets. Cabbage leaves, well cut, made their 
strong shields. They took their spears from the pond side 


deadly pointed rushes they were, and they placed upon their 
heads helmets that were empty snail shells. So armed and so 
accoutered they were ready to meet the grand attack of the mice. 

When the robber came to this part of the story Heracles 
halted his march, for he was shaking with laughter. The rob- 
ber stopped in his story. Heracles slapped him on the leg and 
said: "What more of the heroic exploits of the mice?' The 
second robber said, "I know no more, but perhaps my brother 
at the other side of you can tell you of the mighty combat be- 
tween them and the frogs." Then Heracles shifted the first 
robber from his back to his front, and the first robber said: 
"I will tell you what I know about the heroical combat between 
the frogs and the mice." And thereupon he began: 

The gnats blew their trumpets. This was the dread signal 
for war. 

Bread Nibbler struck the first blow. He fell upon Loud 
Crier the frog, and overthrew him. At this Loud Crier's friend, 
Reedy, threw down spear and shield and dived into the water. 
This seemed to presage victory for the mice. But then Water 
Larker, the most warlike of the frogs, took up a great pebble and 
flung it at Ham Nibbler who was then pursuing Reedy. Down 
fell Ham Nibbler, and there was dismay in the ranks of the 

Then Cabbage Climber, a great-hearted frog, took up a clod 


of mud and flung it full at a mouse that was coming furiously 
upon him. That mouse's helmet was knocked off and his fore- 
head was plastered with the clod of mud, so that he was well- 
nigh blinded. 

It was then that victory inclined to the frogs. Bread Nibbler 
again came into the fray. He rushed furiously upon Puff Jaw 
the king. 

Leeky, the trusted friend of Puff Jaw, opposed Bread Nibbler's 
onslaught. Mightily he drove his spear at the king of the mice. 
But the point of the spear broke upon Bread Nibbler 's shield, 
and then Leeky was overthrown. 

Bread Nibbler came upon Puff Jaw, and the two great 
kings faced each other. The frogs and the mice drew aside, 
and there was a pause in the combat. Bread Nibbler the 
mouse struck Puff Jaw the frog terribly upon the toes. 

Puff Jaw drew out of the battle. Now all would have been 
lost for the frogs had not Zeus, the father of the gods, looked 
down upon the battle. 

"Dear, dear," said Zeus, "what can be done to save the 
frogs? They will surely be annihilated if the charge of yonder 
mouse is not halted." 

For the father of the gods, looking down, saw a warrior mouse 
coming on in the most dreadful onslaught of the whole battle. 
Slice Snatcher was the name of this warrior. He had come late 
into the field. He waited to split a chestnut in two and to put 
the halves upon his paws. Then, furiously dashing amongst 


the frogs, he cried out that he would not leave the ground until 
he had destroyed the race, leaving the bank of the pond a play- 
ground for the mice and for the mice alone. 

To stop the charge of Slice Snatcher there was nothing for 
Zeus to do but to hurl the thunderbolt that is the terror of 
gods and men. 

Frogs and mice were awed by the thunder and the flame. 
But still the mice, urged on by Slice Snatcher, did not hold 
back from their onslaught upon the frogs. 

Now would the frogs have been utterly destroyed; but, as 
they dashed on, the mice encountered a new and a dreadful 
army. The warriors in these ranks had mailed backs and curv- 
ing claws. They had bandy legs and long-stretching arms. 
They had eyes that looked behind them. They came on side- 
ways. These were the crabs, creatures until now unknown to 
the mice. And the crabs had been sent by Zeus to save the 
race of the frogs from utter destruction. 

Coming upon the mice they nipped their paws. The mice 
turned around and they nipped their tails. In vain the bold- 
est of the mice struck at the crabs with their sharpened spears. 
Not upon the hard shells on the backs of the crabs did the 
spears of the mice make any dint. On and on, on their queer 
feet and with their terrible nippers, the crabs went. Bread 
Nibbler could not rally them any more, and Slice Snatcher 
ceased to speak of the monument of victory that the mice 
would erect upon the bank of the pond. 


With their heads out of the water they had retreated to, the 
frogs watched the finish of the battle. The mice threw down 
their spears and shields and fled from the battleground. On 
went the crabs as if they cared nothing for their victory, and 
the frogs came out of the water and sat upon the bank and 
watched them in awe. 

Heracles had laughed at the diverting tale that the robbers 
had told him; he could not bring them then to a place where 
they would meet with captivity or death. He let them loose 
upon the highway, and the robbers thanked him with high- 
flowing speeches, and they declared that if they should ever 
find him sleeping by the roadway again they would let him lie. 
Saying this they went away, and Heracles, laughing as he 
thought upon the great exploits of the frogs and mice, went on 
to Omphale's house. 

Omphale, the widow, received him mirthfully, and then set 
him to do tasks in the kitchen while she sat and talked to him 
about Troy and the affairs of King Laomedon. And afterward 
she put on his lion's skin, and went about in the courtyard drag- 
ging the heavy club after her. Mirthfully and pleasantly she 
made the rest of bis time in Lydia pass for Heracles, and the 
last day of his slavery soon canze, and he bade good-by to 
Omphale, that pleasant widow, and to Lydia, and he started 
off for Calydon to claim his bride Deianira. 

Beautiful indeed Deianira looked now that she had ceased to 


mourn for her brother, for the laughter that had been under her 
grief always now flashed out even while she looked priestesslike 
and of good counsel; her dark eyes shone like stars, and her 
being had the spirit of one who wanders from camp to camp, 
always greeting friends and leaving friends behind her. Her- 
acles and Deianira wed, and they set out for Tiryns, where a 
king had left a kingdom to Heracles. 

They came to the River Evenus. Heracles could have crossed 
the river by himself, but he could not cross it at the part he 
came to, carrying Deianira. He and she went along the river, 
seeking a ferry that might take them across. They wandered 
along the side of the river, happy with each other, and they 
came to a place where they had sight of a centaur. 

Heracles knew this centaur. He was Nessus, one of the 
centaurs whom he had chased up the mountain the time when 
he went to hunt the Erymanthean boar. The centaurs knew 
him, and Nessus spoke to Heracles as if he had friendship for 
him. He would, he said, carry Heracles' s bride across the 

Then Heracles crossed the river, and he waited on the other 
side for Nessus and Deianira. Nessus went to another part of 
the river to make his crossing. Then Heracles, upon the other 
bank, heard screams the screams of his wife, Deianira. He 
saw that the centaur was savagely attacking her. 

Then Heracles leveled his bow and he shot at Nessus. Arrow 
after arrow he shot into the centaur's body. Nessus loosed his 


hold on Deianira, and he lay down on the bank of the river, his 
lifeblood streaming from him. 

Then Nessus, dying, but with his rage against Heracles un- 
abated, thought of a way by which the hero might be made to 
suffer for the death he had brought upon him. He called to 
Deianira, and she, seeing he could do her no more hurt, came 
close to him. He told her that in repentance for his attack 
upon her he would bestow a great gift upon her. She was to 
gather up some of the blood that flowed from him; his blood, the 
centaur said, would be a love philter, and if ever her husband's 
love for her waned it would grow fresh again if she gave to him 
something from her hands that would have this blood upon it. 

Deianira, who had heard from Heracles of the wisdom of the 
centaurs, believed what Nessus told her. She took a phial and 
let the blood pour into it. Then Nessus plunged into the river 
and died there as Heracles came up to where Deianira stood. 

She did not speak to him about the centaur's words to her, 
nor did she tell him that she had hidden away the phial that 
had Nessus's blood in it. They crossed the river at another 
point and they came after a time to Tiryns and to the kingdom 
that had been left to Heracles. 

There Heracles and Deianira lived, and a son who was named 
Hyllos was born to them. And after a time Heracles was led 
into a war with Eurytus Eurytus who was king of Oichalia. 

Word came to Deianira that Oichalia was taken by Heracles, 
and that the king and his daughter lole were held captive. 


Deianira knew that Heracles had once tried to win this maiden 
for his wife, and she feared that the sight of lole would bring 
his old longing back to him. 

She thought upon the words that Nessus had said to her, and 
^ven as she thought upon them messengers came from Heracles to 
ask her to send him a robe a beautifully woven robe that she 
had - - that he might wear it while making a sacrifice. Deianira 
took down the robe; through this robe, she thought, the blood 
of the centaur could touch Heracles and his love for her would 
revive. Thinking this she poured Nessus's blood over the robe. 

Heracles was in Oichalia when the messengers returned to 
him. He took the robe that Deianira sent, and he went to a 
mountain that overlooked the sea that he might make the sacri- 
fice there. lole went with him. Then he put on the robe 
that Deianira had sent. When it touched his flesh the robe 
burst into flame. Heracles tried to tear it off, but deeper and 
deeper into his flesh the flames went. They burned and burned 
and none could quench them. 

Then Heracles knew that his end was near. He would die 
by fire, and knowing that he piled up a great heap of wood and 
he climbed upon it. There he stayed with the flaming robe 
burning into him, and he begged of those who passed to fire 
the pile that his end might come more quickly. 

None would fire the pile. But at last there came that way 
a young warrior named Philoctetes, and Heracles begged of him 
to fire the pile. Philoctetes, knowing that it was the will of 


the gods that Heracles should die that way, lighted the pile. 
For that Heracles bestowed upon him his great bow and his 
unerring arrows. And it was this bow and these arrows, brought 
from Philoctetes, that afterward helped to take Priam's city. 
The pile that Heracles stood upon was fired. High up, above 
the sea, the pile burned. All who were near that burning fled 
-all except lole, that childlike maiden. She stayed and 
watched the flames mount up and up. They wrapped the sky, 
and the voice of Heracles was heard calling upon Zeus. Then 
a great chariot came and Heracles was borne away to Olympus. 
Thus, after many labors, Heracles passed away, a mortal passing 
into an immortal being in a great burning high above the sra. 


'T happened once that Zeus would punish 
Apollo, his son. Then he banished him 
from Olympus, and he made him put off 
his divinity and appear as a mortal 
man. And as a mortal Apollo sought to 
earn his bread amongst men. He came 
to the house of King Admetus and took 
service with him as his herdsman. 

For a year Apollo served the young king, minding his herds 


of black cattle. Admetus did not know that it was one of the 
immortal gods who was in his house and in his fields. But he 
treated him in friendly wise, and Apollo was happy whilst 
serving Admetus. 

Afterward people wondered at Admetus's ever-smiling face 
and ever-radiant being. It was the god's kindly thought of 
him that gave him such happiness. And when Apollo was leav- 
ing his house and his fields he revealed himself to Admetus, 
and he made a promise to him that when the god of the Under- 
world sent Death for him he would have one more chance of 
baffling Death than any mortal man. 

That was before Admetus sailed on the Argo with Jason and 
the companions of the quest. The companionship of Admetus 
brought happiness to many on the voyage, but the hero to 
whom it gave the most happiness was Heracles. And often 
Heracles would have Admetus beside him to tell him about 
the radiant god Apollo, whose bow and arrows Heracles had 
been given. 

After that voyage and after the hunt in Calydon Admetus 
went back to his own land. There he wed that fair and loving 
woman, Alcestis. He might not wed her until he had yoked 
lions and leopards to the chariot that drew her. This was a 
feat that no hero had been able to accomplish. With Apollo's 
aid he accomplished it. Thereafter Admetus, having the 
love of Alcestis, was even more happy than he had been 


One day as he walked by fold and through pasture field he 
saw a figure standing beside his herd of black cattle. A radiant 
figure it was, and Admetus knew that this was Apollo come to 
him again. He went toward the god and he made reverence 
and began to speak to him. But Apollo turned to Admetus a 
face that was without joy. 

"What years of happiness have been mine, O Apollo, through 
your friendship for me," said Admetus. "Ah, as I walked my 
pasture land to-day it came into my mind how much I loved 
this green earth and the blue sky ! And all that I know of love 
and happiness has come to me through you." 

But still Apollo stood before him with a face that was with- 
out joy. He spoke and his voice was not that clear and vibrant 
voice that he had once in speaking to Admetus. "Admetus, 
Admetus," he said, "it is for me to tell you that you may no 
more look on the blue sky nor walk upon the green earth. It is 
for me to tell you that the god of the Underworld will have 
you come to him. Admetus, Admetus, know that even now 
the god of the Underworld is sending Death for you." 

Then the light of the world went out for Admetus, and he 
heard himself speaking to Apollo in a shaking voice: "O Apollo, 
Apollo, thou art a god, and surely thou canst save me! Save 
me now from this Death that the god of the Underworld is 
sending for me!" 

But Apollo said, "Long ago, Admetus, I made a bargain with 
the god of the Underworld on thy behalf. Thou hast been 


given a chance more than any mortal man. If one will go 
willingly in thy place with Death, thou canst still live on. Go, 
Admetus. Thou art well bved, and it may be that thou wilt 
find one to take thy place." 

Then Apollo went up unto the mountaintop and Admetus 
stayed for a while beside the cattle. It seemed to him that a 
little of the darkness had lifted from the world. He would go 
to his palace. There were aged men and women there, servants 
and slaves, and one of them would surely be willing to take 
the king's place and go with Death down to the Underworld. 

So Admetus thought as he went toward the palace. And 
then he came upon an ancient woman who sat upon stones in 
the courtyard, grinding corn between two stones. Long had 
she been doing that wearisome labor. Admetus had known her 
from the first time he had come into that courtyard as a little 
child, and he had never seen aught in her face but a heavy 
misery. There she was sitting as he had first known her, with 
her eyes bleared and her knees shaking, and with the dust of the 
courtyard and the husks of the corn in her matted hair. He 
went to her and spoke to her, and he asked her to take the 
place of the king and go with Death. 

But when she heard the name of Death horror came into the 
face of the ancient woman, and she cried out that she would 
not let Death come near her. Then Admetus left her, and he 
came upon another, upon a sightless man who held out a shriv- 
eled hand for the food that the servants of the palace might 


bestow upon him. Admetus took the man's shriveled hand, 
and he asked him if he would not take the king's place and 
go with Death that was coming for him. The sightless man, 
with howls and shrieks, said he would not go. 

Then Admetus went into the palace and into the chamber 
where his bed was, and he lay down upon the bed and he la- 
mented that he would have to go with Death that was coming 
for him from the god of the Underworld, and he lamented 
that none of the wretched ones around the palace would take 
his place. 

A hand was laid upon him. He looked up and he saw his tall 
and grave-eyed wife, Alcestis, beside him. Alcestis spoke to 
him slowly and gravely. "I have heard what you have said, 
my husband," said she. "One should go in your place, for 
you are the king and have many great affairs to attend to. 
And if none other will go, I, Alcestis, will go in your place, 

It had seemed to Admetus that ever since he had heard the 
words of Apollo that heavy footsteps were coming toward him. 
Now the footsteps seemed to stop. It was not so terrible for 
him as before. He sprang up, and he took the hands of Alcestis 
and he said, "You, then, will take my place? ''' 

"I will go with Death in your place, Admetus," Alcestis said. 

Then, even as Admetus looked into her face, he saw a pallor 
come upon her; her body weakened and she sank down upon 
the bed. Then, watching over her, he knew that not he but 


Alcestis would go with Death. And the words he had spoken 
he would have taken back the words that had brought her 
consent to go with Death in his place. 

Paler and weaker Alcestis grew. Death would soon be here 
for her. No, not here, for he would not have Death come into 
the palace. He lifted Alcestis from the bed and he carried her 
from the palace. He carried her to the temple of the gods. 
He laid her there upon the bier and waited there beside her. 
No more speech came from her. He went back to the palace 
where all was silent the servants moved about with heads 
bowed, lamenting silently for their mistress. 


As Admetus was coming back from the temple he heard a 
great shout; he looked up and saw one standing at the palace 
doorway. He knew him by his lion's skin and his great height. 
This was Heracles Heracles come to visit him, but come at a 
sad hour. He could not now rejoice in the company of Heracles. 
And yet Heracles might be on his way from the accomplish- 
ment of some great labor, and it would not be right to say a 
word that might turn him away from his doorway; he might 
have much need of rest and refreshment. 

Thinking this Admetus went up to Heracles and took his 
hand and welcomed him into his house. "How is it with you, 
friend Admetus?" Heracles asked. Admetus would only say 


that nothing was happening in his house and that Heracles, his 
hero-companion, was welcome there. His mind was upon a great 
sacrifice, he said, and so he would not be able to feast with him. 

The servants brought Heracles to the bath, and then showed 
him where a feast was laid for him. And as for Admetus, he 
went within the chamber, and knelt beside the bed on which 
Alcestis had lain, and thought of his terrible loss. 

Heracles, after the bath, put on the brightly colored tunic 
that the servants of Admetus brought him. He put a wreath 
upon his head and sat down to the feast. It was a pity, he 
thought, that Admetus was not feasting with him. But this 
was only the first of many feasts. And thinking of what com- 
panionship he would have with Admetus, Heracles left the 
feasting hall and came to where the servants were standing 
about in silence. 

"Why is the house of Admetus so hushed to-day?" Heracles 

"It is because of what is befalling," said one of the servants. 

"Ah, the sacrifice that the king is making," said Heracles. 
"To what god is that sacrifice due?' : 

"To the god of the Underworld," said the servant. "Death 
is coming to Alcestis the queen where she lies on a bier in the 
temple of the gods." 

Then the servant told Heracles the story of how Alcestis had 
taken her husband's place, going in his stead with Death. Her- 
acles thought upon the sorrow of his friend, and of the great 


sacrifice that his wife was making for him. How noble it was 
of Admetus to bring him into his house and give entertainment 
to him while such sorrow was upon him. And then Heracles 
felt that another labor was before him. 

"I have dragged up from the Underworld," he thought, 
"the hound that guards those whom Death brings down into 
the realm of the god of the Underworld. Why should I not 
strive with Death? And what a noble thing it would be to 
bring back this faithful woman to her house and to her hus- 
band! This is a labor that has not been laid upon me, and 
it is a labor I will undertake." So Heracles said to himself. 

He left the palace of Admetus and he went to the temple of 
the gods. He stood inside the temple and he saw the bier on 
which Alcestis was laid. He looked upon the queen. Death 
had not touched her yet, although she lay so still and so silent. 
Heracles would watch beside her and strive with Death for her. 

Heracles watched and Death came. When Death entered the 
temple Heracles laid hands upon him. Death had never been 
gripped by mortal hands and he strode on as if that grip meant 
nothing to him. But then he had to grip Heracles. In Death's 
grip there was a strength beyond strength. And upon Heracles 
a dreadful sense of loss came as Death laid hands upon him 
a sense of the loss of light and the loss of breath and the loss 
of movement. But Heracles struggled with Death although his 
breath went and his strength seemed to go from him. He held 
that stony body to him, and the cold of that body went through 


him, and its stoniness seemed to turn his bones to stone, but 
still Heracles strove with him, and at last he overthrew him 
and he held Death down upon the ground. 

"Now you are held by me, Death," cried Heracles. "You are 
held by me, and the god of the Underworld will be made 
angry because you cannot go about his business either this 
business or any other business. You are held by me, Death, 
and you will not be let go unless you promise to go forth from 
this temple without bringing one with you." And Death, 
knowing that Heracles could hold him there, and that the busi- 
ness of the god of the Underworld would be left undone if 
he were held, promised that he would leave the temple without 
bringing one with him. Then Heracles took his grip off Death, 
and that stony shape went from the temple. 

Soon a flush came into the face of Alcestis as Heracles watched 
over her. Soon she arose from the bier on which she had been 
laid. She called out to Admetus, and Heracles went to her 
and spoke to her, telling her that he would bring her back to her 
husband's house. 


Admetus left the chamber where his wife had lain and stood 
before the door of his palace. Dawn was coming, and as he 
looked toward the temple he saw Heracles coming to the palace. 
A woman came with him. She was veiled, and Admetus could 
not see her features. 


"Admetus," Heracles said, when he came before him, "Adme- 
tus, there is something I would have you do for me. Here is 
a woman whom I am bringing back to her husband. I won 
her from an enemy. Will you not take her into your house 
while I am away on a journey?' 1 

"You cannot ask me to do this, Heracles," said Admetus. 
"No woman may come into the house where Alcestis, only 
yesterday, had her life." 

"For my sake take her into your house," said Heracles. 
"Come now, Admetus, take this woman by the hand." 

A pang came to Admetus as he looked at the woman who 
stood beside Heracles and saw that she was the same stature 
as his lost wife. He thought that he could not bear to take 
her hand. But Heracles pleaded with him, and he took her 
by the hand. 

"Now take her across your threshold, Admetus," said Her- 

Hardly could Admetus bear to do this hardly could he 
bear to think of a strange woman being in his house and his 
own wife gone with Death. But Heracles pleaded with him, 
and by the hand he held he drew the woman across his threshold. 

"Now raise her veil, Admetus," said Heracles. 

"This I cannot do," said Admetus. "I have had pangs 
enough. How can I look upon a woman's face and remind 
myself that I cannot look upon Alcestis's face ever again? >; 

"Raise her veil, Admetus," said Heracles. 


Then Admetus raised the veil of the woman he had taken 
across the threshold of his house. He saw the face of Alcestis. 
He looked again upon his wife brought back from the grip of 
Death by Heracles, the son of Zeus. And then a deeper joy 
than he had ever known came to Admetus. Once more his wife 
was with him, and Admetus the friend of Apollo and the friend 
of Heracles had all that he cared to have. 


ANY were the minstrels who, in the early 
days, went through the world, telling to 
men the stories of the gods, telling of their 
wars and their births. Of all these min- 
strels none was so famous as Orpheus 
who had gone with the Argonauts; none 
could tell truer things about the gods, for 
he himself was half divine. 

But a great grief came to Orpheus, a grief that stopped his 
singing and his playing upon the lyre. His young wife Eurydice 
was taken from him. One day, walking in the garden, she was 
bitten on the heel by a serpent, and straightway she went down 
to the world of the dead. 

Then everything in this world was dark and bitter for the 


minstrel Orpheus; sleep would not come to him, and for him 
food had no taste. Then Orpheus said: "I will do that which 
no mortal has ever done before; I will do that which even the 
immortals might shrink from doing: I will go down into the 
world of the dead, and I will bring back to the living and to the 
tight my bride Eurydice." 

Then Orpheus went on his way to the valley of Acherusia which 
goes down, down into the world of the dead. He would never 
have found his way to that valley if the trees had not shown 
him the way. For as he went along Orpheus played upon his 
lyre and sang, and the trees heard his song and they were moved 
by his grief, and with their arms and their heads they showed 
him the way to the deep, deep valley of Acherusia. 

Down, down by winding paths through that deepest and most 
shadowy of all valleys Orpheus went. He came at last to the 
great gate that opens upon the world of the dead. And the 
silent guards who keep watch there for the rulers of the dead 
were affrighted when they saw a living being, and they would 
not let Orpheus approach the gate. 

But the minstrel, knowing the reason for their fear, said: 
"I am not Heracles come again to drag up from the world of the 
dead your three-headed dog Cerberus. I am Orpheus, and all 
that my hands can do is to make music upon my lyre." 

And then he took the lyre in his hands and played upon it. 
As he played, the silent watchers gathered around him, leaving 
the gate unguarded. And as he played the rulers of the dead 


came forth, Aidoneus and Persephone, and listened to the words 
of the living man. 

"The cause of my coming through the dark and fearful ways," 
sang Orpheus, "is to strive to gain a fairer fate for Eurydice, 
my bride. All that is above must come down to you at last, 
O rulers of the most lasting world. But before her time has 
Eurydice been brought here. I have desired strength to endure 
her loss, but I cannot endure it. And I come before you, 
Aidoneus and Persephone, brought here by Love." 

When Orpheus said the name of Love, Persephone, the queen 
of the dead, bowed her young head, and bearded Aidoneus, the 
king, bowed his head also. Persephone remembered how De- 
meter, her mother, had sought her all through the world, and 
she remembered the touch of her mother's tears upon her face. 
And Aidoneus remembered how his love for Persephone had led 
him to carry her away from the valley in the upper world where 
she had been gathering flowers. He and Persephone bowed 
their heads and stood aside, and Orpheus went through the 
gate and came amongst the dead. 

Still upon his lyre he played. Tantalus who, for his crimes, 
had been condemned to stand up to his neck in water and yet 
never be able to assuage his thirst Tantalus heard, and for a 
while did not strive to put his lips toward the water that ever 
flowed away from him; Sisyphus who had been condemned 
to roll up a hill a stone that ever rolled back Sisyphus heard 
the music that Orpheus played, and for a while he sat still 


upon his stone. And even those dread ones who bring to the 
dead the memories of all their crimes and all their faults, even 
the Eumenides had their cheeks wet with tears. 

In the throng of the newly come dead Orpheus saw Eurydice. 
She looked upon her husband, but she had not the power to 
come near him. But slowly she came when Aidoneus called her. 
Then with joy Orpheus took her hands. 

It would be granted them no mortal ever gained such 
privilege before to leave, both together, the world of the dead, 
and to abide for another space in the world of the living. One 
condition there would be that on their way up through the 
valley of Acherusia neither Orpheus nor Eurydice should look 

They went through the gate and came amongst the watchers 
that are around the portals. These showed them the path that 
went up through the valley of Acherusia. That way they went, 
Orpheus and Eurydice, he going before her. 

Up and up through the darkened ways they went, Orpheus 
knowing that Eurydice was behind him, but never looking back 
upon her. But as he went, his heart was filled with things to 
tell how the trees were blossoming in the garden she had left; 
how the water was sparkling in the fountain; how the doors of 
the house stood open, and how they, sitting together, would 
watch the sunlight on the laurel bushes. All these things were 
in his heart to tell her, to tell her who came behind him, silent 
and unseen. 


And now they were nearing the place where the valley of 
Acherusia opened on the world of the living. Orpheus looked on 
the blue of the sky. A white-winged bird flew by. Orpheus 
turned around and cried, "O Eurydice, look upon the world 
that I have won you back to!" 

He turned to say this to her. He saw her with her long 
dark hair and pale face. He held out his arms to clasp her. 
But in that instant she slipped back into the depths of the 
valley. And all he heard spoken was a single word, " Fare- 
well!' 1 Long, long had it taken Eurydice to climb so far, but 
in the moment of his turning around she had fallen back to her 
place amongst the dead. 

Down through the valley of Acherusia Orpheus went again. 
Again he came before the watchers of the gate. But now he 
was not looked at nor listened to, and, hopeless, he had to re- 
turn to the world of the living. 

The birds were his friends now, and the trees and the stones. 
The birds flew around him and mourned with him; the trees 
and stones often followed him, moved by the music of his lyre. 
But a savage band slew Orpheus and threw his severed head 
and his lyre into the River Hebrus. It is said by the poets that 
while they floated in midstream the lyre gave out some mourn- 
ful notes and the head of Orpheus answered the notes with song. 

And now that he was no longer to be counted with the living, 
Orpheus went down to the world of the dead, not going now 
by that steep descent through the valley of Acherusia, but going 


down straightway. The silent watchers let him pass, and he 
went amongst the dead and saw his Eurydice in the throng. 
Again they were together, Orpheus and Eurydice, and as they 
went through the place that King Aidoneus ruled over, they had 
no fear of looking back, one upon the other. 


"ASON and Medea, unable to win to lolcus, 
stayed at Corinth, at the court of King 
Creon. Creon was proud to have Jason in 
his city, but of Medea the king was fear- 
ful, for he had heard how she had brought 
about the death of Apsyrtus, her brother. 
Medea wearied of this long waiting in 
the palace of King Creon. A longing came upon her to exer- 
cise her powers of enchantment. She did not forget what 
Queen Arete had said to her that if she wished to appease 
the wrath of the gods she should have no more to do with 
enchantments. She did not forget this, but still there grew in 
her a longing to use all her powers of enchantment. 

And Jason, at the court of King Creon, had his longings, too. 
He longed to enter lolcus and to show the people the Golden 
Fleece that he had won; he longed to destroy Pelias, the mur- 


derer of his mother and father; above all he longed to be a 
king, and to rule in the kingdom that Cretheus had founded, 

Once Jason spoke to Medea of his longing. " O Jason," Medea 
said, "I have done many things for thee and this thing also I 
will do. I will go into lolcus, and by my enchantments I will 
make clear the way for the return of the Argo and for thy 
return with thy comrades - - yea, and for thy coming to the 
kingship, O Jason." 

He should have remembered then the words of Queen Arete 
to Medea, but the longing that he had for his triumph and his 
revenge was in the way of his remembering. He said, " O Medea, 
help me in this with all thine enchantments and thou wilt be 
more dear to me than ever before thou wert." 

Medea then went forth from the palace of King Creon and 
she made more terrible spells than ever she had made in Colchis. 
All night she stayed in a tangled place weaving her spells. 
Dawn came, and she knew that the spells she had woven had 
not been in vain, for beside her there stood a car that was 
drawn by dragons. 

Medea the Enchantress had never looked on these dragon 
shapes before. When she looked upon them now she was fear- 
ful of them. But then she said to herself, "I am Medea, and 
I would be a greater enchantress and a more cunning woman 
than I have been, and what I have thought of, that will I carry 
out." She mounted the car drawn by the dragons, and in the 
first light of the day she went from Corinth. 


To the places where grew the herbs of magic Medea journeyed 
in her dragon-drawn car to the Mountains Ossa, Pelion, 
(Ethrys, Pindus, and Olympus; then to the rivers Apidanus, 
Enipeus, and Peneus. She gathered herbs on the mountains 
and grasses on the rivers' banks; some she plucked up by the 
roots and some she cut with the curved blade of a knife. 
When she had gathered these herbs and grasses she went 
back to Corinth on her dragon-drawn car. 

Then Jason saw her; pale and drawn was her face, and her 
eyes were strange and gleaming. He saw her standing by the 
car drawn by the dragons, and a terror of Medea came into his 
mind. He went toward her, but in a harsh voice she bade 
him not come near to disturb the brewing that she was going 
to begin. Jason turned away. As he went toward the palace 
he saw Glauce, King Creon's daughter; the maiden was coming 
from the well and she carried a pitcher of water. He thought 
how fair Glauce looked in the light of the morning, how the 
wind played with her hair and her garments, and how far away 
she was from witcheries and enchantments. 

As for Medea, she placed in a heap beside her the magic 
herbs and grasses she had gathered. Then she put them in 
a bronze pot and boiled them in water from the stream. Soon 
froth came on the boiling, and Medea stirred the pot with a 
withered branch of an apple tree. The branch was withered - 
it was indeed no more than a dry stick, but as she stirred the 
herbs and grasses with it, first leaves, then flowers, and lastly, 


bright gleaming apples came on it. And when the pot boiled 
over and drops from it fell upon the ground, there grew up out 
of the dry earth soft grasses and flowers. Such was the power 
of renewal that was in the magical brew that Medea had made. 

She filled a phial with the liquid she had brewed, and she 
scattered the rest in the wild places of the garden. Then, 
taking the phial and the apples that had grown on the withered 
branch, she mounted the car drawn by the dragons, and she went 
once more from Corinth. 

On she journeyed in her dragon-drawn car until she came to 
a place that was near to lolcus. There the dragons descended. 
They had come to a dark pool. Medea, making herself naked, 
stood in that dark pool. For a while she looked down upon 
herself, seeing in the dark water her white body and her lovely 
hair. Then she bathed herself in the water. Soon a dread 
change came over her: she saw her hair become scant and 
gray, and she saw her body become bent and withered. She 
stepped out of the pool a withered and witchlike woman; when 
she dressed herself the rich clothes that she had worn before 
hung loosely upon her, and she looked the more forbidding 
because of them. She bade the dragons go, and they flew 
through the air with the empty car. Then she hid in her dress 
the phial with the liquid she had brewed and the apples that 
had grown upon the withered branch. She picked up a stick 
to lean upon, and with the gait of an ancient woman she went 
hobbling upon the road to lolcus. 


On the streets of the city the fierce fighting men that Pelias 
had brought down from the mountains showed themselves; few 
of the men or women of the city showed themselves even in the 
daytime. Medea went through the city and to the palace of 
King Pelias. But no one might enter there, and the guards 
laid hands upon her and held her. 

Medea did not struggle with them. She drew from the folds 
of her dress one of the gleaming apples that she carried and 
she gave it to one of the guards. "It is for King Pelias/' she 
said. " Give the apple to him and then do with me as the king 
would have you do." 

The guards brought the gleaming apple to the king. When 
he had taken it into his hand and had smelled its fragrance, 
old trembling Pelias asked where the apple had come from. 
The guards told him it had been brought by an ancient 
woman who was now outside seated on a stone in the court- 

He looked on the shining apple and he felt its fragrance and 
he could not help thinking, old trembling Pelias, that this apple 
might be the means of bringing him back to the fullness of health 
and courage that he had had before. He sent for the ancient 
woman who had brought it that she might tell him where it 
had come from and who it was that had sent it to him. Then 
the guards brought Medea before him. 

She saw an old man, white-faced and trembling, with shaking 
hands and eyes that looked on ber fearfully. "Who are you/' 


he asked, "and from whence came the apple that you had them 
bring me?" 

Medea, standing before him, looked a withered and shrunken 
beldame, a woman bent with years, but yet with eyes that were 
bright and living. She came near him and she said: "The 
apple, King, came from the garden that is watched over by 
the Daughters of the Evening Land. He who eats it has a little 
of the weight of old age taken from him. But things more won- 
derful even than the shining apples grow in that far garden. 
There are plants there the juices of which make youthful again 
all aged and failing things. The apple would bring you a little 
way toward the vigor of your prime. But the juices I have can 
bring you to a time more wonderful back even to the strength 
and the glory of your youth." 

When the king heard her say this a light came into his heavy 
eyes, and his hands caught Medea and drew her to him. "Who 
are you?" he cried, "who speak of the garden watched over 
by the Daughters of the Evening Land? Who are you who speak 
of juices that can bring back one to the strength and glory of 
his youth?' 1 

Medea answered: "I am a woman who has known many and 
great griefs, O king. My griefs have brought me through the 
world. Many have searched for the garden watched over by the 
Daughters of the Evening Land, but I came to it unthinkingly, 
and without wanting them I gathered^the gleaming apples and 
took from the plants there the juices that can bring youth back." 


Pelias said: "If you have been able to come by those juices, 
how is it that you remain in woeful age and decrepitude?' 1 

She said: " Because of my many griefs, king, I would not 
renew my life. I would be ever nearer death and the end of 
all things. But you are a king and have all things you desire 
at your hand beauty and state and power. Surely if any one 
would desire it, you would desire to have youth back to you." 

Pelias, when he heard her say this, knew that besides youth 
there was nothing that he desired. After crimes that had gone 
through the whole of his manhood he had secured for himself 
the kingdom that Cretheus had founded. But old age had 
come on him, and the weakness of old age, and the power he 
had won was falling from his hands. He would be overthrown 
in his weakness, or else he would soon come to die, and there 
would be an end then to his name and to his kingship. 

How fortunate above all kings he would be, he thought, if it 
could be that some one should come to him with juices that 
would renew his youth! He looked longingly into the eyes of 
the ancient-seeming woman before him, and he said: "How 
is it that you show no gains from the juices that you speak of? 
You are old and in woeful decrepitude. Even if you would 
not win back to youth you could have got riches and state for 
that which you say you possess." 

Then Medea said: "I have lost so much and have suffered 
so much that I would not have youth back at the price of facing 
the years. I would sink down to the quiet of the grave. But 


I hope for some ease before I die for the ease that is in king's 
houses, with good food to eat, and rest, and servants to wait 
upon one's aged body. These are the things I desire, O Pelias, 
even as you desire youth. You can give me such things, and I 
have come to you who desire youth eagerly rather than to kings 
who have a less eager desire for it. To you I will give the juices 
that bring one back to the strength and the glory of youth." 

Pelias said: "I have only your word for it that you possess 
these juices. Many there are who come and say deceiving 
things to a king." 

Said Medea: "Let there be no more words between us, O 
king. To-morrow I will show you the virtue of the juices I 
have brought with me. Have a great vat prepared a vat 
that a man could lay himself in with the water covering 
him. Have this vat filled with water, and bring to it the oldest 
creature you can get a ram or a goat that is the oldest of 
their flock. Do this, O king, and you will be shown a thing to 
wonder at and to be hopeful over." 

So Medea said, and then she turned around and left the 
king's presence. Pelias called to his guards and he bade them 
take the woman into their charge and treat her considerately. 
The guards took Medea away. Then all day the king mused 
on what had been told him and a wild hope kept beating about 
his heart. He had the servants prepare a great vat in the lower 
chambers, and he had his shepherd bring him a ram that was 
the oldest in the flock. 


Only Medea was permitted to come into that chamber with 
the king; the ways to it were guarded, and all that took place 
in it was secret. Medea was brought to the closed door by 
her guard. She opened it and she saw the king there and the 
vat already prepared; she saw a ram tethered near the vat. 

Medea looked upon the king. In the light of the torches his 
face was white and fierce and his mouth moved gaspingly. 
She spoke to him quietly, and said: "There is no need for you 
to hear me speak. You will watch a great miracle, for behold! 
the ram which is the oldest and feeblest in the flock will be- 
come young and invigorated when it comes forth from this vat." 

She untethered the ram, and with the help of Pelias drew it 
to the vat. This was not hard to do, for the beast was very 
feeble; its feet could hardly bear it upright, its wool was yellow 
and stayed only in patches on its shrunken body. Easily the 
beast was forced into the vat. Then Medea drew the phial out 
of her bosom and poured into the water some of the brew she 
had made in Creon's garden in Corinth. The water in the vat 
took on a strange bubbling, and the ram sank down. 

Then Medea, standing beside the vat, sang an incantation. 

"O Earth," she sang, "O Earth who dost provide wise men 
with potent herbs, O Earth help me now. I am she who can 
drive the clouds; I am she who can dispel the winds; I am she 
who can break the jaws of serpents with my incantations; I 
am she who can uproot living trees and rocks; who can make 
the mountains shake; who can bring the ghosts from their 


tombs. O Earth, help me now." At this strange incantation 
the mixture in the vat boiled and bubbled more and more. 
Then the boiling and bubbling ceased. Up to the surface came 
the ram. Medea helped it to struggle out of the vat, and 
then it turned and smote the vat with its head. 

Pelias took down a torch and stood before the beast. Vigo- 
rous indeed was the ram, and its wool was white and grew evenly 
upon it. They could not tether it again, and when the servants 
were brought into the chamber it took two of them to drag 
away the ram. 

The king was most eager to enter the vat and have Medea 
put in the brew and speak the incantation over it. But Medea 
bade him wait until the morrow. All night the king lay awake, 
thinking of how he might regain his youth and his strength and 
be secure and triumphant thereafter. 

At the first light he sent for Medea and he told her that he 
would have the vat made ready and that he would go into it 
that night. Medea looked upon him, and the helplessness that 
he showed made her want to work a greater evil upon him, or, 
if not upon him, upon his house. How soon it would have 
reached its end, all her plot for the destruction of this king! 
But she would leave in the king's house a misery that would 
not have an end so soon. 

So she said to the king: "I would say the incantation over a 
beast of the field, but over a king I could not say it. Let those 
of your own blood be with you when you enter the vat that 


will bring such change to you. Have your daughters there. 
I will give them the juice to mix in the vat, and I will teach them 
the incantation that has to be said." 

So she said, and she made Pelias consent to having his daughters 
and not Medea in the chamber of the vat. They were sent for 
and they came before Medea, the daughters of King Pelias. 

They were women who had been borne down by the tyranny 
of their father; they stood before him now, two dim-eyed crea- 
tures, very feeble and fearful. To them Medea gave the phial 
that had in it the liquid to mix in the vat; also she taught 
them the words of the incantation, but she taught them to use 
these words wrongly. 

The vat was prepared in the lower chambers; Pelias and his 
daughters went there, and the chamber was guarded, and what 
happened there was in secret. Pelias went into the vat; the 
brew was thrown into it, and the vat boiled and bubbled as 
before. Pelias sank down in it. Over him then his daughters 
said the magic words as Medea had taught them. 

Pelias sank down, but he did not rise again. The hours went 
past and the morning came, and the daughters of King Pelias 
raised frightened laments. Over the sides of the vat the mix- 
ture boiled and bubbled, and Pelias was to be seen at the bot- 
tom with his limbs stiffened in death. 

Then the guards came, and they took King Pelias out of the 
vat and left him in his royal chamber. The word went through 
the palace that the king was dead. There was a hush in the 


palace then, but not the hush of grief. One by one servants 
and servitors stole away from the palace that was hated by all. 
Then there was clatter in the streets as the fierce fighting men 
from the mountains galloped away with what plunder they 
could seize. And through all this the daughters of King Pelias 
sat crouching in fear above the body of their father. 

And Medea, still an ancient woman seemingly, went through 
the crowds that now came on the streets of the city. She told 
those she went amongst that the son of ^Eson was alive and 
would soon be in their midst. Hearing this the men of the 
city formed a council of elders to rule the people until Jason's 
coming. In such way Medea brought about the end of King 
Pelias's reign. 

In triumph she went through the city. But as she was pass- 
ing the temple her dress was caught and held, and turning 
around she faced the ancient priestess of Artemis, Iphias. " Thou 
art Petes' s daughter," Iphias said, "who in deceit didst come 
into lolcus. Woe to thee and woe to Jason for what thou hast 
done this day! Not for the slaying of Pelias art thou blame- 
worthy, but for the misery that thou hast brought upon his 
daughters by bringing them into the guilt of the slaying. Go 
from the city, daughter of King ^Eetes; never, never wilt thou 
come back into it." 

But little heed did Medea pay to the ancient priestess, Iphias. 
Still in the guise of an old woman she went through the streets 
of the city, and out through the gate and along the highway 


that led from lolcus. To that dark pool she came where she 
had bathed herself before. But now she did not step into the 
pool nor pour its water over her shrinking flesh; instead she 
built up two altars of green sods an altar to Youth and an 
altar to Hecate, queen of the witches; she wreathed them with 
green boughs from the forest, and she prayed before each. Then 
she made herself naked, and she anointed herself with the brew 
she had made from the magical herbs and grasses. All marks 
of age and decrepitude left her, and when she stood over the dark 
pool and looked down on herself she saw that her body was white 
and shapely as before, and that her hair was soft and lovely. 

She stayed all night between the tangled wood and the dark 
pool, and with the first light the car drawn by the scaly dragons 
came to her. She mounted the car, and she journeyed back to 

Into Jason's mind a fear of Medea had come since the hour 
when he had seen her mount the car drawn by the scaly dragons. 
He could not think of her any more as the one who had been 
his companion on the Argo. He thought of her as one who could 
help him and do wonderful things for him, but not as one whom 
he could talk softly and lovingly to. Ah, but if Jason had thought 
less of his kingdom and less of his triumphing with the Fleece of 
Gold, Medea would not have had the dragons come to her. 

And now that his love for Medea had altered, Jason noted the 
loveliness of another of Glauce, the daughter of Creon, the 


King of Corinth. And Glauce, who had red lips and the eyes 
of a child, saw in Jason who had brought the Golden Fleece 
out of Colchis the image of every hero she had heard about in 
stories. Creon, the king, often brought Jason and Glauce to- 
gether, for his hope was that the hero would wed his daughter 
and stay in Corinth and strengthen his kingdom. He thought 
that Medea, that strange woman, could not keep a companion- 
ship with Jason. 

Two were walking in the king's garden, and they were Jason 
and Glauce. A shadow fell betwen them, and when Jason 
looked up he saw Medea's dragon car. Down flew the dragons, 
and Medea came from the car and stood between Jason and 
the princess. Angrily she spoke to him. "I have made the 
kingdom ready for your return," she said, "but if you would 
go there you must first let me deal in my own way with this 
pretty maiden." And so fiercely did Medea look upon her that 
Glauce shrank back and clung to Jason for protection. "O, 
Jason," she cried, "thou didst say that I am such a one as thou 
didst dream of when in the forest with Chiron, before the adven- 
ture of the Golden Fleece drew thee away from the Grecian 
lands. Oh, save me now from the power of her who comes in 
the dragon car." And Jason said: "I said all that thou hast 
said, and I will protect thee, O Glauce." 

And then Medea thought of the king's house she had left for 
Jason, and of the brother whom she had let be slain, and of the 
plot she had carried out to bring Jason back to lolcus, and a 


great fu*/ came over her. In her hand she took foam from the 
jaws of the dragons, and she cast the foam upon Glauce, and 
the princess fell back into the arms of Jason with the dragon 
foam burning into her. 

Then, seeing in his eyes that he had forgotten all that he 
owed to her the winning of the Golden Fleece, and the safety 
of Argo, and the destruction of the power of King Pelias 
seeing in his eyes that Jason had forgotten all this, Medea went 
into her dragon-borne car and spoke the words that made the 
scaly dragons bear her aloft. She flew from Corinth, leaving 
Jason in King Creon's garden with Glauce dying in his arms. 
He lifted her up and laid her upon a bed, but even as her friends 
came around her the daughter of King Creon died. 



ND Jason? For long he stayed in 
Corinth, a famous man indeed, but one 
sorrowful and alone. But again there 
grew in him the desire to rule and to have 
possessions. He called around him again 
the men whose home was in lolcus 
those who had followed him as bright-eyed 
youths when he first proclaimed his purpose of winning the Fleece 
of 'Gold. He called them around him, and he led them on board 
the Argo. Once more they lifted sails, and once more they took 
the Argo into the open sea. 

Toward lolcus they sailed; their passage was fortunate, and 
in a short time they brought the Argo safely into the harbor 
of Pagasse. Oh, happy were the crowds that came thronging 
to see the ship that had the famous Fleece of Gold upon her 
masthead, and green and sweet smelling were the garlands that 
the people brought to wreathe the heads of Jason and his com- 
panions! Jason looked upon the throngs, and he thought that 
much had gone from him, but he thought that whatever else 
had gone something remained to him to be a king and a 
great ruler over a people. 

And so Jason came back to lolcus. The Argo he made a 
blazing pile of in sacrifice to Poseidon, the god of the sea. The 
Golden Fleece he hung in the temple of the gods. Then he took 
up the rule of the kingdom that Cretheus had founded, and he 
became the greatest of the kings of Greece. 


And to lolcus there came, year after year, young men who 
would look upon the gleaming thing that was hung there in 
the temple of the gods. And as they looked upon it, young 
man after young man, the thought would come to each that he 
would make himself strong enough and heroic enough to win for 
his country something as precious as Jason's GOLDEN FLEECE. 
And for all their lives they kept in mind the words that Jason 
had inscribed upon a pillar that was placed beside the Fleece 
of Gold the words that Triton spoke to the Argonauts when 
they were fain to win their way out of the inland sea: 










/foil an 

ttla not 



s s 

S A 



Where the Sin